Mother's Day probably means a lot of different things to different people. The holiday may evoke a special memory from childhood. It might be a time to make a phone call or trip back home. Or it may simply be an excuse to go out for an extravagent meal.
On Mother's Day this past weekend, I had some different thoughts about this holiday. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen my own mother since she kicked me out of the house in the 10th grade 19 years ago. And unfortunately, my own son's mother chooses to not be a part of his life.
As you might guess, Mother's Day isn't a big part of the Sunday celebration in our household.
Still, it made me think about all of the "mother figures" in my life who have made a great difference to myself and my son.
It started with my stepmother, who married my dad back when I was in high school. We had our rough moments in the beginning, but she's become a big part of my family.
When I first met Jo, she was dating my dad in 1982 in Phoenix. As an example of her compassion, she used to take in any teen-ager who needed a place to stay for the night. Oftentimes, there would be a dozen or more kids staying at her house, many of them coming from broken homes.
There should be dozens of kids out there who think of her on Mother's Day.
Another person important in my life is my Aunt Donna. She's been there for me on a few important and stressful occasions and has always been a calming voice to me.
That afternoon in the 10th grade in Paradise Valley when I came home and found my things out on the porch, Aunt Donna was there to load everything up in the stationwagon and take me in.
Years later after I left my wife, she was there again to offer a helping hand. My son and I stayed with her for two months down there in Mesa until I could get enough money together to start over again in our own apartment.
Aunt Donna's still there for me and appropriately, I spent part of last weekend with her down in the Valley. We can talk for hours about anything under the sun; that's the way it should be with a mother.
Finally, there's Connie, a friend I met through work down in Williams. Anyone who chats with my son for a while will undoubtedly hear about Connie.
Connie has bailed me out of more than one jam when it comes to a few of the challenges a single parent can face. A few years ago after I had surgery, she took care of the kid while I recovered.
Whenever we need to get away from the Grand Canyon office for a while, she always has the spare bedroom available for us.
Connie's importance in my son's life has always been apparent to me. He reminded me of that fact on Sunday — Mother's Day.
Since the topic apparently came up in school, my son has been asking why he 'doesn't have a mother." It's a difficult question to answer. I try to tell him the best way I know how while making sure there are many people in the world who love him.
The topic was brought up again down in Mesa while we were visiting Aunt Donna. She told him about the same thing I did.
He apparently didn't get the question out of his mind. While riding back from the store in the car on Sunday, he asked me out of the blue if Connie could be his "mother."
That pretty much tells me how he feels about her. I'm certain that years from now, she'll be in his thoughts on Mother's Day.
(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).