Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"You are my best mom."

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The children and I had a delightful afternoon yesterday. We spent it at a park by the river. I rocked Elisabeth on a swinging bench while the older girls enjoyed the zip line and dipping their toes into the water. 

We returned home in time to eat dinner before I left for my West Side Story rehearsal. As I was saying goodbye to the girls, Elsa hugged me tight and said, "You are my best mom."

The way she phrased it really caught my attention. It wasn't 'you are the best mom', but 'you are my best mom'. And it suddenly occurred to me why she would choose those words - because she has two mothers, her biological mother and myself.

As the night went on I kept thinking back to her statement. I can see why it would be easy for her to award me the honor of 'best mom'. I take her to play at parks, I read her stories, I dress her in fancy clothes, I go to the grocery store and come home with enough food to fill our pantry and fridge. I am able to make her life comfortable and happy. But does that make me the best mom?

Seyba, Elsa's biological mother, wanted for her daughter what she could not provide once her husband passed away. Things that are easily accessible here in the states are hard to attain in a remote African village - food, healthcare, and education to name a few. She couldn't go to Costco and buy her groceries in bulk. She couldn't go Walgreens down on the corner if she needed an antibiotic. She couldn't walk with Elsa to the local library to pick out books. Indeed, life was hard. So she chose to say goodbye so that Elsa could live a life different from the one she herself had known.

I think of her often, this woman with whom I share a child but have not met. Her bravery inspires me daily and her sacrifice reminds me not only to be the best mother I can, but to appreciate the opportunity I have to watch my children grow and learn. In my eyes, Seyba exemplifies what a mother should be: courageous, strong, and selfless.

And that, without a doubt, makes her the best mom.

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