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Mothers really matter. Regardless of what kind of relationship you have with your mother and regardless of what kind of relationshp you create as a mother, it is a profound one. And that cannot be changed.

I do not have much extended family. My mother was an orphan eliminating a whole half of the potential relatives I might have gotten. My father had two sisters he decided after a while he didn’t like. Aunt Gretchen was one of them, and the other has run away from the family and hidden herself in the maze of NYC for the last 25 years. So with Gretchen gone it leaves few people who knew me as I grew up and who also know me now. I am hanging on to my mother’s best friend, Shay. We stay in touch, she as much to hear my mother’s voice in me as I to hear the words of a generation my folks and aunt came from, in her. She was at my wedding and stood next to me at my mother’s funeral and remains in the background of my life as a witness to where I came from and where I have landed today.

I need that reference it seems. I need to believe I can move forward in life, and escape the pains of my past that follow me around. And Shay serves as reference to that, vaildating for me that yes, my sisters are gone from my life and so are my brothers (well one pops in once in a while), as are my aunts and my parents, and that it is right and reasonable to adopt new people to carry me in this world. She validates that for me, agreeing that my past bumps into my future like this sometimes, and that I need to make do. To reinvent myself. She validates for me that I have made good on my dreams of creating a different kind of family, one that can carry me into the future more surely. Shay does all this for me now and I appreciate her clarity of sight and her quiet way of knowing me.

I feel my past slipping away as the memory of Gretchen fades. I sadly say goodbye to those days I shared with her and reluctantly accept the new ones ahead.

Gretchen and Shay are both my mothers. And as I write this I recognize all my other mothers out there that I failed to notice before, that I know will support me as I carry on.