Mentor, Judy M. She raised 2 of her own and 20+ on behalf of others who were adopting them, so she knows a thing or 2 about the chaos that comes from childhood. My favorite story: she wanted more than 2 kids; her husband Jack told her, “you don’t want more kids, you want more babies.” Their compromise: fostering. Win-win. Win.
Friends, Wendy and Toni. Watching them raise their broods of 3 and 5 very well adjusted, courteous, manner-filled, happy and loving teenagers inspired me to take notes. What’d they do? Loved them. Showed them their value. They didn’t give their kids everything they wanted, but gave them more than they asked for. And they loved their husbands.
BFF, KLR. She may not have children of her own, but she loves the little buggers and knows a thing or two about how to bring them up in the world, well-adjusted and healthy, thanks to her background in EI. She’s also the product of a pretty good mama herself (who else comes up with “painting rocks” with water?!)
Sister. She forged the way and provided me the commentary as she explored what it looks like to love your kids and provide them with the best in life. She held my hand through breastfeeding (ok, not literally), sleep schedules and how to put on a mai-tai.
Cousins. Since we’re learning it at the same time, it’s been a blessing to hear their victories and even their challenges. Knowing my daughter wasn’t the only one to scream like a cat before bed or that introducing solids was added work gave me peace of mind.
M-I-L. Since I married the product of her motherly work, I can say she did a fantastic job. And because I married her progeny, I can say that no matter how great you do, and how much you love Jesus, there’s no formula for producing perfection. This is a tough one for me to swallow (because I’m always wondering how I can do better for these littles), so she shows me the large amount of grace that the motherhood equation requires. Also, she’s demonstrated that though not perfect, love does produce thoughtful, generous, loving future-spouses. I (and my children!) can’t thank her enough!
Mother, of course. When you watch it day-in and day-out, you pick up a few things about what it means to be give and love and sacrifice. I also picked up on how important it is to foster great friendships and make time for a date out with your spouse. I watched her flourish as a person, beyond her identity as a mother. Because now that the kids are grown and gone, she continues to live a rich life.