I am one of those lucky people in this life. You see, I was blessed to have two mothers. My first mother was my birth mother. My second mother is my Step-mother. She has been married to my father for over 33 years now. She is the one person in my life who has encouraged me to be true to myself. Whenever I needed support in my life's path, she was there. She has always been someone that I could talk to. Someone who would listen and advise. Someone I could call when there was no one else around.
Jean is a genealogist and has encouraged each of us (my brothers and sister) to find our own roots. I am not much good at it, but I am learning a little at a time. My sister loves that type of work, and has been privileged to go on several trips to graveyards and genealogy libraries to do research. Jean has also helped my husband through her encouragement. She has taught him how to use the Family Search Website to do research for his family. Because of her help and guidance, he has been blessed to both find ancestors and also to do temple work for them.
She has always encouraged me to follow my heart in all areas of my life. For me, that has especially included music and singing. I have been able to nurture that passion and strengthen it. She gave me a guitar when I was first married. It is a little guild and it has the sweetest sound ever. She also introduced me to both folk music and all the varied instruments that can be found there. I have learned to play the guitar, the bones, the cat claws, and I even dabble at the spoons and the saw. I also played an auto harp for a while and have enjoyed taking all my children to folk music festivals. Every child that I have had has learned to sing and to play an instrument. Each one of them has had the experience of playing and singing with and for grandma. Jean has been much more to me that just a normal step-mother. She has been a confidant, advisor, care-giver, and friend. She has invited myself and my very large family into her home and always welcomed us with open arms. She gave me a place to stay, to relax, and most of all to have fun.
My dear mother Jean, was never able to have children of her own. But she learned how to mother by loving us. I know that Mother's Day can be very difficult for her. It became especially difficult after her own mother passed away. But today, I wish her to know that she is a mother in all the ways that count the most. She might not have mothered me as a child, but she has been there for me my entire adult life. My children know and love her as "Grandma Jean".
I have learned that we all have opportunities to mother. Sometimes those opportunities include babies, and sometimes they include lost and lonely teenagers. Sometimes they are family, and sometimes they are neighbors and friends. The important thing is not having children of your own, it is being able to mother those around you who need it the most. It is finding a place in your heart to welcome in other children for our Heavenly Father. It is providing them with the knowledge and love that they need to make it through this existence.
So today, I want to pay tribute to all those who are mothers of the heart. You might not be traditional, but you are so appreciated. So very loved and needed. You are mothers in the very deepest meaning of the word. Mothers of the lost and wondering. Mothers of those who might not be of your blood, but who need you desperately in their lives. Mothers always of the heart.
Thank you Jean, for everything you are, and everything you have ever been to me.