That is so true. In ways I will never understand. See, I never gave birth. Was never pregnant. Not even once.
It's Mother's Day. For me, this day has always been mixed with various emotions. Last year, I wrote about the struggles I went through with my own mother.
You see, I think there are two different types of relationships with a mother and daughter: either you are super close or always at each other's throats. Growing up, I was the latter. You can find that post HERE.
I have even written about not having children. You can read that post HERE.
Instead of concentration on the negative (which is sort of .. well.. a MAJOR reason I am the way I am..) I decided to take a look at a different aspect.
Saturday afternoon, I sat with my friend, Julie, by the pool talking about Mother's Day. She told me how her husband was taking the kids to the store to pick out a treat for her, and that the family was going to come over on Sunday and celebrate. I made a joke about how I need a special day, just for not over populating the world... We laughed a little, then I did throw in.. but I have had a chance to "sort of" mother a few.
Or to at least be a little special.. to someone..
Even though, biologically, I cannot.
Probably the most important role I can even have is being the Godmother of my niece, Autumn. Here she is the day that the Catholic Church pronounced me the "spiritual" mother of this child.
This little devil is my world. I love her so much. What I find fascinating, is that when I look at her - I see my eyes reflected right back at me. She is as close to a genetic link that will continue as I will ever get.
Luckily, my husband is crazy in love with her. My sister can rest assured, that no matter what happens, he and I will be there for her forever.
Pennapa & I - my first daughter. She lived with me for one year... and here she is NOW:
She is on the left.
My second exchange student was Camille from Paris. I took this pic of her at High Falls in Georgia. She only stayed with us a few weeks (her exchange was only during the summer.) But we had a lovely time.
This is her now:
My Third exchange student was Carole from Belgium. She lived with us for a few months, and her exchange program ended. Unfortunately, I do not have any of her photos scanned from her stay - but I do have one photo now:
My third exchange student was Chiara from Italy. She and I had a very fast bond, and I cherished every moment with her:
Chiara lived with us for about 8 months. We traveled all over the place and had a grand time!
Here is Chiara now:
My next exchange student was a boy from Belgium, named Patrick. Unfortunately, I do not have any of his pictures scanned either. Nor do I have any updated photos - we did not keep in touch. He only lived with our family for a couple of months.
My next exchange student was Roslin from Colombia.
Roslin and I had a great time together. Bless her heart, her english took a very long time to come together, but we made it work! She lived with us from for about 7 months (1 semester.)
Here she is now:
My next exchange student was my very first double placement. I ended up with 2 children at one time! Elena from Moldova and Jackie from Germany.
Jackie is on the left and Elena is on the right.
Out of all of my exchange students - Jackie and I were the most similar in personality. She lived with us for about 4 months.
Elena was with us for one year.
Here they are now:
Elena and I were super close while she was here. We still call each other "Pookie Bear." :-)
While Elena lived with us, by the following January she had a new "sibling." Matt from Australia.
After the summer - we ended up with another girl - Ilaria from Italy. She ended up living with us about 10 months.
I do not have a recent pic of Ilaria, but I do have one of Matt:
Two months after Ilaria arrived, we ended up moving to Alabama. So - Matt & Ilaria transferred to a different school in the fall. (Matt lived with us from Jan - December.)
When Matt was ready to leave, Ilaria was still with us, and next came Felipe from Brazil. The day we dropped Matt off at the airport, Felipe arrived!
For about 2 hours I had 3 children!
Felipe was definitely a "mama's boy" - (he would kill me for saying that.) But my little Brazilian stayed very close to my side.
After he left, we took a summer off. Then I got another double placement.
Kimhoy from Cambodia ended up living with us for 2 months in Alabama.
Then Mina - from Kurdistan (or as we know it - Northern Iraq.)
Mina lived with me for one year.
This picture was taken just days before my exhusband asked me for a divorce. So yes, I was a single mom for about 7 months. Mina was my rock, a beautiful example of a daughter. My first encounter with a muslim. She was there when I met the egyptian. To this day... she still can't believe it all happened.
This is Mina Now:
There are a few more very important people I need to introduce you to - the people/women that are responsible for passing on their genes:
This is my mother's mother - Betty Jo Terry (later Williams) with her nephew Herbert. (My grandfather's brother.)
Here are the apple's of my eye - my Grandma Betty with Papa (Henry Melvin Williams) and his mother my Granny (Beulah Mae Knowles (Williams)
I do not have any photos of my father's parents. My grandpa Thurston (Emerson Waldo Thurston) died when I was 4 and my grandma Thurston (Hazel Marie Small (Thurston) died when I was 15. I only saw them once a year. They lived in Indiana.
My Granny died when I was 17. My Grandma Betty died when I was 22 and my Papa died just two weeks shy of my college graduation (I was 24.)
This was also as close to a child as I will ever get. Nanook Thurston lived with me for 10 years until he went onto Dog Heaven. To learn more about the true love of my life - read that post HERE.
Finally - as for my mother, I have made peace with the teenage angst.
From her I have inherited my strength, my fiery personality, my quick temper, my creativity and my love of travel and the arts.
I may not have given birth biologically, but I know what motherhood means.