We are All Worthy of Mothering

Many years ago, I heard Oprah Winfrey refer to Maya Angelou as her “Mother-Sister-Friend.”

I loved the feeling of that title when I heard Oprah speak it into my mind. I fell in love with Maya Angelou’s voice in her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when I was in high school, and felt her as an invisible mentor ever since that time. So, this Mother-Sister-Friend title felt important because it referred to “my” Maya.

In our lives, we have these kind of people. Those who come into our lives, who’s heartstrings get a bit tangled with our own and who’s influence we feel for years.

On this Mothering Day*, I felt I wanted to speak to this feeling of Mother-Sister-Friends as a way to soothe souls who may be hurting and to remind myself of those women who have been in my life, who remain in my life and who have influenced my life.

(*Mothering – a verb, nurturing, noticing, acting, loving)

Mothering does not know gender. Mothering is not specific to humans. Mothering is a spirit to spirit gift. Mothering just ‘is.’

As a young 14 year old girl, my need for nurture was strong. I know that many teens do not feel they get all their needs met by their mothers. I was not any different. I was fortunate to have a web of women at the church I attended in the youth program. They scooped me up, held me close and made sure I had guidance and some extra nurture. These women are still in my life, leading, teaching and loving me all these 30 years later.

As I have pondered about that 14 year old me, I remember that I felt invisible. Between being adopted and being shy, I had a hard time feeling accepted by peers and school mates. It is no different than many teens today. I look at that young teen me, and I know that life could have gone very differently if these women would not have stepped up. I owe them all so much. I owe that 14 year old girl so much for allowing these women to get close to her so that she could Become who I am now. These women were mothering.

I remember fondly my friends while in Japan when I lived there as a young missionary who were kind, caring, nurturing and who made sure I didn’t crash my bike, get lost in the crazy neighborhoods, told me what I was eating before I ate it, hugged me, kept me safe and dry during rainy seasons and who made me laugh when I felt down. These women still hold such a special place in my heart. They were mothering.

Just yesterday, a new friend came to my door with a small Bundt Cake. It was like she brought me a million dollars. I was touched and so happy. I enjoyed every bite for my breakfast today! This was a small act of mothering, and I felt seen, remembered and cared for. This was mothering.

When I was a young mother with 2 rambunctious kids, a seasoned mother sat next to me one Sunday and was able to get my baby to fall asleep when I was struggling. This was mothering.

I have a circle of friends who have enveloped me when I have felt as though I may fall apart. They sustained me. They have scooped me up. They have laughed, cried and grieved with me many times over the years. This is mothering.

In my early 30’s I saw a therapist who taught me what mothering can be between two souls. She helped me out of personal hell, then helped me see I had what it took to help others out of their own personal hell. She taught me that I had more to offer the world than I had ever thought possible. She is still a force for good in my life. We are close. We check in. We care. We are mothering to each other. This is Mothering

I have new friends who I have met in due to being an adoptee. I say “new,” but for me, it feels we have known each other for our entire lifetimes. I have met them at retreats, at conferences and had long, meaningful conversations. We text, talk and sometimes have Facetime talks. They get me. They accept me. They ask about me and my family. They are the most authentic people I know. This is mothering.

One thing I know for sure is that we humans can not make it in life alone. We need companionship, friendship, nurture, love and to have other humans in our lives. We are not made to live in solitude. This is why so many have struggled during this pandemic. I love the idea of reaching out to people daily, even if it is a text saying you are thinking about them.

I recognize I am lucky. I have had people enter my life and I have had people leave my life. I know not everyone has had Mothering in their lives or they can not recognize the mothering because they are lonely, hurt and scared. I know that there are those who are hurting on this day. I want to tell you that no matter what, you are important, you have purpose and you deserve to Mothering.

I know there are those who have lost their mothers, both from this earth and in conflict, I know there are mothers who have lost their children, I know there are adoptees who have all kinds of feelings about this day, I know that there are those who struggle. How I wish I could just scoop you up and provide Mothering.

We are all worthy of being loved. We are all worthy of care. We are all worthy of feeling accepted. We are all worthy of being seen. We are all worthy of Mothering. We are all worthy.

India Arie Every One of Us is Worthy (click to listen and take in the amazingness that is YOU!) Listening to music is Mothering.

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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

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