“Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
Most people have one mother. I was blessed to have three women whom I consider a mother to me.
The first, Elizabeth, gave birth to me. She taught me how to walk, eat, when to sleep, talk. She gave me life and I like to think my sense of humor. She would talk with me while sitting on our porch, she encouraged me to write. She truly gave me roots and wings. She moved to heaven when I was eleven. She established me in this world.
My second mother was really my older sister, Dottie. She was fifteen when our mother passed away. Her childhood was cut short. She became the mother figure to both myself and my younger sister. She guided me through my teen years, giving me insight and ideas. We didn’t always see eye to eye, and I often wonder if my mother had survived cancer, if we would have gotten along. Maybe it was my obstinate ways that caused conflict. Dottie was there for me in heartbreaks and victories in school and she cheered me on the days that looked bleak. I would not have had the experiences I did in high school had it not been for her.
I married young. When I first started dating Dale, his mother did not like me. She made that fact well known. Eventually, though, we both softened in our approach to each other. She didn’t have a daughter and I didn’t have a Mom, so together we planned our wedding, giving her the experience of a daughter and me having a Mom to share the excitement with.
My mother-in-law, Marietta, became a Naomi to my Ruth. “But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” Ruth 1:16 (NLT) When she moved to heaven, grief for her was what I experienced as an eleven year old.
I have been fortunate to have the love and encouragement of three beautiful women in my life. They have taught me to grow, to learn, to accept and respect. I thank my Lord for each of them.