Friday, May 11, 2012

I have a wonderful wacky friend who continues to amaze me with her talent and spiritual strength. Suzy and I met while serving in the Orlando Florida Temple together. I learned firsthand how her spunky personality and love for life not only influences her work, but also influences those around her. I will be forever grateful for her friendship and for her sweet testimony of what it truly means to be a mother.

Creating My Own Kind of Motherhood
By Suzy Toronto
Those of you who know my story of the wacky, round-about way I became a mother know that I am far from being a traditional mom. Always wanting a large family, but unable to biologically conceive, chasing that dream was not easy. But from a young age, I was determined to make it happen. By my 29th birthday, I was a single mom with one adopted child -- a slow but good start.  That year, I kicked it into high gear.  I married a widower I'd only know 30 days, added 4 full time step children to the mix.  And because life wasn't crazy enough, I took on the challenge of a Native American foster child. Do the math.  It adds up to six kids, all calling me mom and singing Happy Birthday to me by my 30th birthday.  

Since I figured this was my one and only shot to do "the Mom Gig," I quit my job and decided to be a full time, stay at home mom.  It was the most difficult thing I've ever done. Between the sheer amount of work it took to keep a family that size going, the challenges of budgeting on a single income, not to mention the nonstop drama of it all, it was not easy. There were moments I doubted my sanity.  I can honestly say I have never worked so hard or cried so much. It's not something I recommend to the faint of heart. And I made a lot of mistakes -- all mothers do. But I did a lot of things right, too. Today, 25 years later, I'm still happily wed and have an amazing family.  All the kids are grown, educated and married. I have 12 grandchildren and I'm hoping for a few more with our youngest son just recently married. I've started a new career and I am still following my heart and my dreams by sharing my art, writing and wacky philosophy with anyone who will listen.

For me, it was the right choice. 

The art of motherhood is not about carrying a child in your womb for 9 months and physically giving birth to a biological offspring. Its about choosing to raise, rear, nurture and care for the future generation. It is about leaving the world a bit better because you decided to spend your life teaching someone else how to live. For me, it has made all the difference.

All women are not mothers, but we've all had someone in our lives who at one point or another fulfilled at least a portion of that nurturing roll in our life. Whether she is biologically related to you or not, take a moment this Mother's Day to thank that special woman who took the time to mother you.

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