Mother’s Day

I have said it many times, and will continue to say it until the day I take my last breath, I had the best mother ever!

In my mind she was a saint.  She kept our house running like clockwork and always was there to support me in every way I could ever dream.

My mother didn’t have an easy life, she suffered from health issues most of her life and was in a traumatic car accident when I was only four.

The year after her wreck, we lost my brother in an automobile accident.  She had it tough and I used to tell her she was the strongest person I had ever known, that still rings true.

When mama went home to be with the Lord on February 21, 2010, my world was shattered.  She had always been my guiding light and I didn’t know how I would go on.

Since that day, I have moved on and still think of her daily.  She was and will always be my hero.

After mama died, Mother’s Day took on new meaning.  A day of celebration turned into one of dread.  I no longer had her with me physically and it hurt to remember those days once she had passed.

As time has gone on, today I use the day to reflect on the years I had her and the assurance that one day we will be together again.

I have also found other ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, as there are other women in my life who fill some of the void I have in missing her, the women who can never take her place, but remind me of the strong women who have influenced my life.

My mother’s best friend was Sara Singleton.  Mrs. Singleton has been a part of my life since I was a child.

As a surrogate, Mrs. Singleton is the person I go to who makes me feel my mama’s presence.

Today she lives just a few minutes from my home and though I don’t get to visit with her as often as I would like, I always feel comforted when I do.

We talk about the stories of our town and reminisce.  Mrs. Singleton provides me with comfort and a sense of continuity just by sitting and talking.

I love Mrs. Singleton and I know my mama would approve of the surrogacy she has given me.

When I moved to Florida, I didn’t know anyone.  It was the late 90’s and I quickly developed a close-knit circle of friends that would act as my Florida family.

One of the people I met in Florida is Donna Baribeau.  Donna was the “mom” for our group and quickly became my Florida “mom.”

Donna’s quick smile, loving embrace and encouragement was a source of enjoyment for me during my years in Florida and she still holds a special place in my heart now that I have moved away.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to “mom,” as she kept alive in me the comforts of home even though I lived so many miles away from my own blood family.

My sister-in-law, Donna is now the matriarch of our family.  She carries on many of the traditions that we enjoyed as kids and provides a loving moral compass for us all to follow.

Donna is a confidant and friend.  She is good-natured in taking the family “ribbing” that we all give her, with a sense of humor and humility that my own mama personified.

She also has taken the mantra of Nana to a level that is especially fun to watch.  We kidded mama that her grandchildren were the most spoiled and loved children ever……  Nana Donna definitely has made sure that her granddaughter feels that same love!

Mama loved Donna as much as if she had given birth to her and I am especially thrilled that so much of my mother is embodied in Donna.

Today a new generation has begun the traditions and traits of my mama, it warms my heart to see it develop.

Chelsea, my niece, has grown into a young mother who is creating a family of fun, quality time and tradition just like my mother did.

She takes a special effort to have fun with my great-niece Hadley and I know mama smiles down from heaven when she sees them together.

I love watching the traits of mama flow down to Donna and Chelsea, even as they create a life path all their own.

Mother’s Day is different now.  It is still bittersweet and usually includes a few tears during the day, but knowing I have these powerful women in my life does ease the pain.

I hope that you will enjoy your Mother’s Day this year and for those of you who are lucky enough to have your mom still with you, make sure to tell her you love and appreciate her, I promise, one day you will be glad you did!

Friday’s Hero ~ 5.10.13; Aunt Beck, Sara Singleton and Donna Baribeau

For the past three years Mother’s Day has been a dread for me.  Since losing my mother it is just a painful day that I would prefer to skip.FRIDAY’S

This year, I have decided to try and make the best of it, while I don’t have my mother on this earth any longer, I still am able to carry wonderful memories with me that help ease the pain.

I have decided this year, I will honor three “mother figures” in my life, women who have helped to fill an unfillable void since my hero was promoted to Glory.

This Week’s Friday’s Heroes are my Aunt Beck, Sara Singleton and Donna Baribeau….. Fill-In  Mothers.

My Aunt Beck has always been a major force in my life, she was mama’s only sister.  Aunt Beck lives in Florida, so growing up as a kid, she was who we would visit on Spring Break and Summer vacation.

As I grew older, Aunt Beck was a confidant and became a friend.

Once I moved to Florida, and Uncle Larry passed away, Aunt Beck became my traveling buddy.  If I were going to be in God’s Country, Aunt Beck was going to be in the car beside me heading that way.

Aunt Beck was with us in God’s Country during that final week.

Aunt Beck has always been a force in my life, but since mama passed away she now fills a bigger role.  We talk on the phone more, we share more and I look to her more for those “mama” talks that I miss so much.

Sara Singleton was my mama’s best friend.  Mama and Mrs. Singleton met shortly after we moved to God’s Country and they remained friends until the day my mama died.

Mama and Mrs. Singleton had parallel lives, both teachers, both mother’s of boys, both Coaches wives.  Mama and Mrs. Singleton would travel to games together, they would console each other through victories and defeats and as they got older they just talked.

Mama and Mrs. Singleton had a ritual of afternoon coffee, every day Monday – Friday.  Their afternoon “chat” time started out at Mrs. Singleton’s house and moved to McDonald’s after they both retired.  Mama and Mrs. Singleton continued the tradition for most of their adult lives.

When I go to God’s Country for a visit, I reconnect with my mama through a visit with Mrs. Singleton.

We talk about what is going on in our lives and the subject inevitably will turn to my mama.   I feel a connection to my mama through Mrs. Singleton, and as she has been a constant through most of my life, I feel a motherly love for her that has seen every season of my life.

Donna Baribeau is my Florida mother.  Donna didn’t have kids and she has adopted all of our Florida Family as her own.

I met Donna years ago in a business meeting and got my first “Donna-look,” a half-smile, half you have got to be effing kidding me stare.  From that moment on, I fell in love with Donna.

For years now Donna has provided a motherly shoulder to me and the other members of my extended Florida Family, while she isn’t as strict as our own mother’s she still likes to rule with a velvet fist.

Donna’s love and compassion have found me when I needed it most.  When mama passed, I came home to a clean from top to bottom, organized, rooted and planted, new towel and sheets home…. even a new mattress pad.  That is just the kind of person Donna is, she doesn’t love just a little bit but with her whole heart.

When I had the opportunity to interview for my present job, it was the first interview I had after mama died.   For every interview of my life before this one, my mother would encourage me and tell me how proud of me she was, this time my mama wasn’t there to tell me.

Donna was.

Before my interview I saw Donna and she knew exactly what I needed to hear and she sent me on my way to get my dream job with a motherly love that I will always appreciate.  Donna and I were in the car together when I got the call offering me the job.

Donna is a friend, a confidant and a mother figure, someone I appreciate for just being Donna.

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes they are here for specific moments of our lives.  No one will ever replace my mother, she was one of a kind and I am proud to say she was mine, but it is comforting to know that there are other women who step up and help fill a void that seems to grow wider as the days go by.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and especially to three women who have helped me when I needed it most, Aunt Beck, Sara Singleton and Donna Baribeau, my heroes of the week!