I stare at a large pile of unwritten and unsent mother’s days cards. Add to that about 5 Niagara Falls postcards and I am officially way behind on my correspondence. It’s been a bit hectic, yes. We’ve gone from Chicago to rural Pennsylvania/New York State, to Long Island, and then Manhattan. Keeping up with our health; working out, eating right and taking time to relax; making the dogs happy, going on three to four walks a day playing tug-of-war in whatever hotel room we happen to inhabit, and eating treats (the dogs and well let’s be honest, us); and most importantly making sure the cat in our life, Boots, is healthy, safe, and content, playing with floss (he comes running every morning when I pull it out to clean my teeth), lots of chin scratching and neck rubbing, and even humoring the 3-4am feet wars we play under the covers while he is on top of the bed, attacking. Not to mention the chin scratching and neck rubbing Jason needs! So between that and squeezing in some work…I think, well maybe, I have made a good enough excuse for being behind. This is our 3rd trip to Manhattan. Granted we did have the pleasure of driving through one extra time during rush hour on our way to Rhode Island, but officially yes the third. I find myself more familiar and relaxed this time around. Riding in on the train or helping maneuver traffic with Jason as he drives, we have ventured into the city the last two days. Today, of course being Mother’s day the city is full of well-wishers and families hugging and celebrating. The lady at the toll booth on the Mid-Town Tunnel wished me Happy Mother’s day as we paid: we had no sign of a child in the car. I was taken aback. It seems as a woman Mother’s Day is a rite of passage. If you are a woman of certain age, you should have a baby to call your own. What’s worse? If you are a anyone at all, you should have a mother. I allow at this segment of my post a brief moment of self pity, as I do each year on this day. What about me? I have no living mother. I have not child. I can not have a child. I have lost any hope of a child I have ever conceived. But then…the beauty kicks in. I have love. I have life. I have adventure. As I said when I started this, I have a pile of Mother’s day cards yet unfinished. Ok so what of the fore-mentioned? I do have a mother…and many more. My mother was a brilliant–albeit neurotic–smart, passionate, HIGHLY tempered woman, with jet black hair and a smile that would knock you back. Sometimes, even nearly 8 years later, I cry for hours remembering the loss, and grasping the fact she is not a part of this life anymore. However, I mostly focus on what is here. Today I have lots of women on my mind. AND no, they are not all officially mothers, or officially my mother, but they are worthy of the title and mean everything in the world to me. From a mentor-turned-mother who has shared 5 years of strength, love, and knowledge with me, to my mother’s best friend, left behind, to continue loving me and sharing her light. I have been blessed. I have friends who will soon become mothers,cousins who I witness being wonderful mothers and a sister who inspires me more than anything as she parents my two beautiful nieces. Let’s face it…Hallmark doesn’t make a ‘like-a-mother’ card for no reason. I thrive on the fact that these strong women are a part of my life. That who they are and what they stand for usher me forward and give me courage, even as I walk the streets of New York. I just can’t stop there. Friends I have who are brilliant and funny, nowhere near motherhood but loving and nurturing to me and others all the same. My grandmother who I love about as much as anyone in my life, who has shared the most intimate and quiet moments with me, she was the mother to my mother. This cycle, this influence, today is about celebrating the woman in your life who love and give and inspire.