To all the rainbow mamas
Last week I was celebrating the birthday of my children’s father. I was surrounded by people who I somewhat know, but very few that I have communicated with on a regular basis. Many of them were women, all of them had stories to share with me about their time spent with my girls. It used to make me uncomfortable, the feeling that I don’t know what happens in their life for 50% of the time. I don’t always know the people they know, the places they visit, or the things they like to do when they are not with me. It can be unnerving as a parent when your primary purpose it to raise them, and you don’t even know where they are half the time.
Yet, the more and more that this happens, the deeper I fall in love with my children. All of these women who have had these different experiences with my kids, they kept me laughing for hours with the retelling of their funny comments or sweet anecdotes. I have grown to adore moments like this now. Moments where I get to learn something new about my kids, or see them from a different lens. It is like meeting your child for the first time all over again, but through the stories of someone else. I’ve learned so much about who my children are in this world through the realization that I am not their world, but only a little piece of it.
I call them rainbow mamas now. These women who might be mothers in their own realm, or might not be, but they have the ability to mother my children in a variety of settings. Sometimes when I am there, sometimes when I am not, sometimes consistently and sometimes sporadically. These women can offer my girls so much more than I ever could as a sole entity. They can swoop in when I’m failing in an area, or just to offer a different perspective, and they bring new energy and a different outlook to every single situation. I love these rainbow mamas because they love my children fiercely, and at times even better than I can. They might not be mothering for long, but when they do they light up the entire sky.
I don’t go out for drinks very often but a few weeks ago I met a friend at a bar and I saw a young woman, probably a few years shy of 20, who teetered when she walked and slurred sentences beyond comprehension. An older lady was escorting her out, tenderly but firmly with an aged arm around her shoulders, and I wondered who had come to her rescue on this night. Was it her mother? Or was she too embarrassed to call her mother in this situation. What would my own daughter do in ten years if she were in the same scenario? Of course my motherly mind immediately went to that place. The place where your kids aren’t safe, and you can’t do anything about it. It doesn’t have to be a present danger, or even a realistic one, the motherly mind just knows the smothering sensation of worry and it can’t shake the feeling. Then I thought about all their rainbow mamas. The ones who have fixed their hair, fixed their meals, and fixed their fights when I am not around to do so. The ones who have known them for years, the ones who have only seen them one time, and the ones who haven’t even met them yet. I know any of them would swoop in whenever they are needed, whether they are wanted or not, and do the things that I can not always do. That is the beauty of rainbow mamas.
To all the rainbow mamas on Mother’s Day, I hope you know that I couldn’t do this without you. Nobody could. You see a light in my children that sometimes looks dim to my tired eyes. You see potential in my children that I forgot about years ago. You love them in such a unique way that it makes me proud to be their mother and to mother alongside of you.
Thank you for adding some imense beauty to this world, and to the lives of my children. Happy Mother’s Day to you.