A tribute to non-biological mothers

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. Many people around the world, including me, celebrated the women who gave them life. Not to take away from the sentiment, I waited till today to pay my tribute to the non-biological mothers.

Because it’s one thing to love and care for a child that you chose to have, but it’s another thing to choose to love and care for someone else’s child.

So here’s to the women who marry widowers and become wonderful stepmothers. They patiently earn their stepchildren’s trust. They do not alienate the motherless children from their father. They nurse the wounds of losing a mother, or at the very least they do not make the pain worse.

Here’s to women who have the strength of character to raise children born from infidelity. These women are wise enough not to visit the mistakes of a grown man on an innocent child. These women have the difficult task of enduring the pain of betrayal while loving the result of betrayal.

Here’s to adoptive mothers; the ones who open their hearts and homes to children who have been abandoned and neglected. And to the women who step up and take care of more children than they had planned when their friends or relatives fall on hard times or are befallen by a tragedy. 

Here’s to grandmothers who raise children born of recklessness. The grandmothers should be happy and free empty-nesters but instead they are bending their old and weary backs raising their children’s children. Not out of choice but because their children are out there having babies they are neither willing nor able to care for.

Here’s to fathers whom divorce, widowhood, sickness or other circumstances have forced to be two parents at once. It takes a noble man to put the children first, to focus on raising them where most men would rush to acquire a replacement for the mother figure.

Here’s to kindergarten teachers who teach children that can barely speak. They wipe noses and clean up messes. They teach things over and over until their energy is fully spent. They teach children fundamental life skills; to speak, to socialize, to count, to read.

Here’s to nannies that treat the children entrusted to their care tenderly. They do not deprive the children. They do not abuse them verbally, physically, or otherwise. They have the children’s well-being at heart.

So then, here’s to the wonderful Muvene who has been working for my parents since I was seven years old. He took care of me and my little brother while our mother went to work. He made us breakfast every day. He washed and ironed our school uniform.

He polished our school shoes until they shone. He had evening tea waiting every day when we came back from school. He reported to my mother whenever he saw me breathing near a boy.

Here’s to all the people who did not choose motherhood but have performed and continue to perform the role wonderfully anyway.

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