My mother, Dolores Spehn, was a great mom. She took care of our every need growing up, attended every game and concert. She encouraged me to tryout for teams, run for student council, and ask out the cutest girl(s). She did so while raising three other children and running our household while our dad worked.
As we got older, busy with our lives and distractions, Mom used to chide us for not calling often enough. “I have four other children,” she’d say tongue (half) in cheek. “But you only have one mom.”
Her point of course was to emphasize to us that we’d better treasure her while she was still here because she was the “only mother we’re gonna get.”
She was right about appreciating her while she was here. She left this world in 2004 and with every passing year I seem to appreciate her more and more. What I wouldn’t give to be able to call her today.
But Mom was wrong about one thing: You don’t “only get one mom”. Yes, there is only one person who gives birth to you, but being a mom is so much more and so much different than giving birth. When we were kids, my mom’s best on our block was Mary Walsh. Though she had ten (yes, ten!) kids of her own, Mrs. Walsh helped raise us as well. She was our “second mom”.
Later, in my high school days, my best friend was Dan Pelekoudas. Because my parents had split up by then and because Mrs. Pelekoudas was greek and could cook like nobody’s business, I spent a lot of time at their house. Mrs. Pelekoudas became my second mom during those days.
Today my five kids all have second moms. Mrs. Lynch, Mrs. Dean, Aunt Colleen… These are the second moms to our kids. And we all are blessed because of it.
Perhaps the greatest example of the “second mom” plays out every day in our home where our kids are blessed with true second moms, Gina and Cathy. They co-parent, one in heaven, one in the kitchen, in a a blessed partnership, in service to their children, and to their God.
One brought these kids into this world, the other brings them up in it. And it’s my privilege to watch. Somedays I want to cry. On others, I simply marvel at His plan and give thanks that it works in our lives.
To all the moms… and second moms, in this world, thank you. Not just for the infinite things you do for us every day. But also for the blessed partnerships you form with really great women, who become our second moms, and help shape our futures.