CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mother's Day is a bit depressing for an enormous number of women, and it is totally our fault. Rather than spend the day "broadly" focusing on the women who have provided love, comfort, and care whenever we needed it, i.e., the aunts (both biological and practical), the godmothers, instructors, baby sitters, teachers, etc. -- we made Mother's Day so narrow that only women who can claim a child on their tax return are deemed worthy of celebration.
Not to say that "Mom" shouldn't get her share of celebration, but imagine how delighted she would feel if not only her "own" children celebrated her, but also her only niece who still calls every week or your childhood best friend whom she always made sure had cake on his birthday -- recognized the love and support she provided them.
A "Mother" is created when a woman provides love, support, and care to a child, without expectation of any return. She provides these needs instinctively, without regard to the child's last name or home address. Chances are, no matter how wonderful your home life was growing up, you can probably remember an aunt, a close friend of your mom's, a baby sitter -- who attended every recital, every game, shopped for every dress, and no matter how old you were, never forgot your birthday. She loved you although you were not her "own" and contributed to providing you the kind of safe and nurturing love that only a mother can give. Mother's Day should be a celebration for all of the women in our lives who made sure that we had a safety net of love growing up -- and the more we have to celebrate, the merrier!
Carter, of Charleston, was reared by her mother, her maternal aunt and the woman who baby-sat her for more than 10 years. She claims zero children on her tax return, but is an aunt by marriage to nine children, an aunt by choice to three, and is head over heels in love with about 10 3-year-olds she teaches at River Ridge Church.