It’s Mother’s Day, so naturally, I am thinking about my mom. She has taught and continues to teach me too many lessons to list here. I’ve learned from her how to be competitive, passionate, loyal. She’s taught me sometimes you just need a good cry, you should always negotiate at yard sales, and if you want to win Mall Madness, don’t go to the pet store. But today I keep thinking about one lesson she demonstrated (and is still demonstrating) over and over. My mom taught me that mothering doesn’t start or stop with your own children.
Before I was born, my mom started a preschool and kindergarten. In our town, if your child had trouble in school for any reason, you sent them to Mrs. Georgie. I imagine through the years, Mrs. Georgie has taught hundreds of children how to read and tie their shoes. I’ve seen grown men and women come up to my mom every now and then and say, “Mrs. Georgie?! It’s me! I was in your class in such-and-such year.” They remember her thirty years later.
When I was in third grade, we started homeschooling. That first year was terrible in many ways, mostly because we didn’t know a lot of other homeschoolers. So my mom found them. She started a homeschool co-op, which later became a tutorial. We were practically a “regular” school before I graduated, with sports teams, prom, and student government. My mom was sort of the principal. Her title was, simply, “Mrs. Georgie.”
At church my mom served as a preschool director, as a Sunday School teacher, as a Mother’s Day Out teacher, and in every way possible in the youth group when my sister and I were that age. My parents currently serve in the youth group of their church, teaching Sunday School and planning all sorts of events.
At 4’9″ (and three-quarters), my mom serves as a height-goal for every third grader she’s ever met. Still today, random kids will walk up to her, ask to be measured, and say, “I’m taller than Mrs. Georgie!” She always answers, “Good! I’m so glad!” and means it.
All of this merely serves as the background of the lesson my mom is teaching me about mothering.
I know that I have one of the best moms because so many people call her their second mom.
My mom taught me that your house does not need to be perfect for you to be hospitable. Just make sure the tub is clean in case someone “looks behind the shower curtain” (or in at least one case, someone decides to wash their hair real quick, mid-party, just because). My mom opened her home to hundreds of teenagers through the years. My house is where we’d hang out and watch TV or play games or swim in our pool or play basketball on the trampoline with the sprinklers running (safety first). My friends knew they could look in the refrigerator, they could always request Rotel Cheese Dip to be made, and we’d always have cereal and milk. They knew where we kept the cokes (in the garage) and they used the back door on a regular basis. Our home was everyone’s second home.
My mom taught me how to have fun. Instead of being like “normal” parents (insert teenage eye roll here), my parents, and especially my mom, were rarely ones to sit downstairs and let us do our own thing. If we were playing cards, she wanted to be dealt in. If we were rolling yards, she drove the getaway van. If we were just hanging out and talking, she was asking what we were going to do. Almost all of my friends have a story about my mom laughing so hard she peed her pants. More than once, my friends went to my house to hang out when I wasn’t even home because my mom was their friend, too.
My mom taught me how to be a second mom. She never tried to take the place of anyone’s mom, but she mothered so many of my friends. I remember times sitting around and having Q&As with my mom—questions my friends didn’t ask their own parents for various reasons. They trusted my mom because her goal was always to base everything on Scripture and she was never afraid to say she didn’t know or she was wrong or “ask your mom about that one.” A few times, she told my friends parts of her story before she ever told me, because she knew they needed someone to say, “I’ve been there.” My mom lost sleep over my friends’ problems. She’s cried with them. She’s prayed for them. She has been an encourager, an advice-giver, and a champion for them.
My mom cried at my friends’ weddings more than she will probably cry at mine (they’ll be tears of relief at that point). She calls my best friend’s kids her great-“nephews.” She’s brought baby gifts and sent cards and asked about everyone’s jobs and husbands and boyfriends. My mom has mourned with me when friendships change due to kids growing up. Any of my friends who’ve spent significant time with my mother (or heard enough stories about her), love her.
My mom has taught me mothering is limitless. As someone who does not yet have kids of my own, this lesson is invaluable. My mom mothered kids long before I was and she continues to mother kids who are not her own. I’m thankful my mom is a mother to me and hundreds of others. And I’m happy to share my mom because she taught me how to do that, too. Thank you, Mommy/Mrs. Georgie. I love you!