Mother’s Day. A day I so proudly get to celebrate! I have been blessed by the good Lord to carry my babies inside of me and help raise them. I prayed for them and wanted nothing else my entire life but to be a mother. And I am so thankful that I am.
However, there are many women out there who have not had that same luxury. Although I do not know their pain, I do get to experience sharing the mothering of my own children with someone who never had the opportunity to have babies herself — but truly, one would never know it.
You see, when I was pregnant with Maylie, I was completely anxious about choosing a sitter. I knew I would head back to work (both for financial and personal career reasons). I also knew that meant that I had to find someone I loved and trusted with my most prized possession.
I found Linda — and there is not a day that goes by that I am not thanking God that I did.
This little lady, who ended up not being able to have kids herself, has been the second Mom — the other mother — to my girls. Oh, I would like to take credit for Maylie’s writing of her letters at age 4 and Reagan’s pedaling of her bike at age 2, but I cannot. Yes, I am their mother and love, teach, cuddle and instruct as much as I can, but the truth is, Linda has them more of their waking hours through the week than I do.
And she is totally awesome. While I planned to furnish her house with baby supplies, she reached out to family members and borrowed what she needed. While I provided her with diapers, wipes, formula, snacks and clothes, she always has back-ups and then some.
If she thinks the girls’ shoes are a little snug, she goes out and buys new ones (OK, actually she has a shoe fetish and buys them shoes constantly ha!) If I forget to send socks, she makes that trip to Walmart — while there, she always seems to come home with new shirts, shorts and an abundance of LOL Dolls.
My girls want for nothing at her house. She envelopes them with love, snuggling them when they are tired and always keeping their favorite foods stocked, yet maintaining the fine line of discipline and care.
While we ask her weekly what food we can bring, she still always picks up their favorite — even if it is a certain brand of chocolate milk and Maylie tells me they went to four places to find it.
When our schedules change and we need to pick them up late, or I need her help putting tiny tights on restless girls so we can make it to dance class on time, or even if I need her to take Maylie to tee-ball practice and I will meet her there after work, she always helps me out.
Oh yes, she does so much for me. But that doesn’t even touch what she does for my babies.
When my girls were teething she was the cuddler of comfort throughout the day. When Maylie started preschool, she was the encourager of heading into class. When they have a fever, she is the fluid pusher, the medicine giver, the snuggle-giving remedy. If they fall and get a boo-boo, she is the first one there with a bandage.
She is their protector against bees, standing on slides and pinched fingers in doors. She taught them to love Halloween, bugs, swinging, learning and edible bubbles, while also helping to teach them to use the potty, wash their hands, cover their mouth when they cough, and use their imagination daily.
She is so much more than their babysitter. She is truly their other mother. And I couldn’t be happier to share this parenting experience with her. Sure, it is hard to have to “share” your babies — that was something I struggled with. But honestly, I couldn’t live this life of God, family and career without her.
So today, Mother’s Day, I want to give a huge shout out to this woman who loves on my babies like they are her own — because they are hers, too. She has touched their little lives in ways that they will never forget. They will always cherish their sweet days with “Auntie L” — the amazing lady that helped raise them.
And to all of you out there who have not been able to have babies, or missed your maternal clock with the right one, to all you award-winning aunties, nannies, babysitters and baby-raisers, I praise you. The other mothers. Because this parenting world would be lost without you.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.