By time I gave birth to my NUMBER THREE SON, my dad began calling me a veteran mom. I suppose it was better than calling me an old mom. I wasn’t like the moms I idolize today. You know the ones who are smart, talented, and adventurous.  They create intricate treasure hunts for their kids before revealing a surprise visit to Disney World. I handed my kids t-shirts to wear on the plane to Orlando. I thought I was being clever at the time.

Judging by today’s Facebook posts, most of us recognize our own mothers as the best example of motherhood. My mother sacrificed a college education; went to work outside the home BEFORE the creation of the “latch-key” kid; and takes care of my dad who is in a nursing home. She embodies love, joy, patience, peace, gentleness, self-control, kindness, goodness, faithfulness – every fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). I am grateful and blessed to call her “Mother”.

I make no distinction among mothers. Yours may be your biological mom, adopted mother, foster mom, step-mother, grandma, aunt, or sister. She may even be a childless “mother”. (For the record, I am not referring to the woman who chooses NOT to have children.) I am talking about women like “T.”

We spent an afternoon discussing her job at the university, which quickly morphed into a conversation about the young women she mentors. Her enthusiasm was evident. She cared for these students more than any of my professors ever did. Outside the classroom, she cooked for them, helped them study and offered motherly love and advice. I quietly listened to her beam about her girls before interrupting.

“Oh, so you’re a mom,” I reasoned.

T politely explained that she had no children, to which I responded, “You may not have had them, but they are definitely your kids.”

We are mothers by our actions. Some of us collect the title seconds after pushing out a 10 pound Butterball. (Oh, yes I did.) Others assume the title later.

So, for any childless “mother,” reading this blog, this day belongs to you too. Thank you.