Back in the 1990â€™s I spent some time in Guatemala. Completely surrounded by a foreign culture and a foreign language (both of which became second nature to me while I was living there a while), I was a long way away from home and away from that wonderful lady who gave birth to me and raised me- my mother. I know the 90â€™s donâ€™t seem like that long ago, but technologically it sure was. Email hadnâ€™t yet become popular, so our main form of correspondence was by snail mail. And when youâ€™re that far away it took about 2 weeks for a letter to travel from one to the other, then 2 more weeks for a reply. International calling still cost us an arm and a leg back then (or as the Guatemalans say, un brazo y una pierna), so it was rare that I was able to pick up Alexander Graham Bellâ€™s invention and hear her sweet voice. That voice is just what I think of when I think of the tenderness of my mother, though. I called her one day, having been about 6 months since Iâ€™d last talked to her and all I needed to say was hello before she recognized my voice and said, â€śIs that my boy?â€ť
I left home when I was 17 to go to college and Iâ€™m now 34, so Iâ€™ve lived away from my mom just as long as I lived with her. Times change. My mom doesnâ€™t play the same role in my life that they did when I was learning to walk or learning to throw a baseball. She doesnâ€™t even play the same role she played back when I was single. Iâ€™ve moved on, and in so doing my concept of motherhood has changed.
In a big way, I guess the majority of us are take a gamble on each other when it comes to parenting. I mean, I knew that the beautiful girl I proposed marriage to was good to me and she made me a better person, but she wasnâ€™t a mother when we were dating and I didnâ€™t know how good of a mother she would be. So, I put my silver dollar in the coin slot and pulled the lever to my lifeâ€™s slot machine to see how things would turn out andâ€¦ what do ya know!? I hit the jackpot! Jammie is not only the most amazing wife, but my gamble paid off and sheâ€™s the most amazing mother to my children.
Our children came to us through the miracle of open adoption. So, not only am I given the chance to watch my wife excel in her role as a mother, but Iâ€™m also able to watch our relationship grow with the birth mothers of our children. They are such amazing women. They add a piece to the puzzle that is our home, supporting us and loving us. The fact that my wife and I havenâ€™t been able to have our own children biologically doesnâ€™t mean that we have missed out on blessings. Learning to love these beautiful birth mothers has taught us a whole new type of love- a love that we couldnâ€™t experience anywhere else in life.
My life is truly blessed by the wonderful women that surround me. They may not carry that Y chromosome that I have, but they all have helped shape and mold me into the man that I am. I shudder to think what my life would be like without them! I love you birth moms, Mom, and especially my wife, Jammie. Happy Motherâ€™s Day.
Russell Elkins, author of Open Adoption, Open Heart