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Who is a mother?

Everybody has a mother. But sometimes it’s not what you expect. Some people are mothered by another “mother” in addition to or in place of their own – that is, another caring and supportive older woman. “In many African-American communities an adult woman is called mother as a sign of respect and love,” wrote the Rev. Patricia Hunter, a minister at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle. “It makes no difference whether she is your mother or has birthed any children at all.”

Think about the different women who have helped you along, paid attention, and expressed their interest in what you were doing. Who were those women? A teacher, neighbor, aunt, grandmother – a nanny or older sister? Maybe she is someone who became so close she feels like your dearest friend. Or maybe she is someone who sees you infrequently, but always remembers to ask about what’s important to you.

Mothers aren’t always biological ones. This Mother’s Day, feel the appreciation you have for all your mothers, and, if you can, express that gratitude. Even a simple “thank you” can mean a lot to those who helped nurture you.

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