I am her mom. The first person she sees every morning, seated next to her dad on our green couch, drinking a morning cup of coffee. At night, after she’s hugged her dad and read a devotional, I’m the one who tucks her in, sending her off to peaceful slumber with a blessing spoken over her. Together, we plan for each day, and I rapid-fire hear about how that day went during the ten-minute car ride home from school. It is my prayer she’ll keep talking, and I’ll remember to listen. There are a thousand ways I am her mom.

My daughter has many other women who mother her, though. They teach her things and instill qualities in her I can not offer on my own. I willingly share the spotlight with them. Happy Mother’s Day.

My single friend teaches her to be content with God. She didn’t expect to be in her mid-thirties, no husband or kids, and working a missional job in which she raises her own funding. It’s not the princess life we’re shown as little girls, but it’s a life she embraces, showing young ladies like mine that God’s path, whether it appears normal or not, is the very best.

The teachers at her school. They teach her to be kind and accepting of others. They awaken her curiosity to learn. They push her to excel at academics. In the classroom, she has the opportunity to draw and write and sing, for while academics feed our mind, the arts feed our soul. Day in and day out, year after year, they spend thousands of hours with my girl. A few weeks ago, when they handed her the reins to direct a student talent show, I saw glimpses of the leader she’s becoming. They give her the freedom to explore. 

We live on a dead end road, bookended by two neighboring families. We’re still getting to know one another, but I see the investment they make in our little girl. It’s a full life of enjoying the outdoors, tending to God’s creatures and realizing the world is a much better place when we take the time to care for one another. 

Two independent grandmas who live full lives, teaching her adventure never has to stop. For the crafts I don’t have to do, to the travel we experience together, they enrich her life, and mine.

At church, the mothering bursts at the seams. Women who love our family well by sitting all around us on Sundays, sharing meals together, keeping our social calendars full. My Bible study women who continuously pray my little girl would grow into a godly woman doing mighty Kingdom work. The Sunday school teachers who always allow for her creative side, while grounding her in the timeless lessons we learn from church tradition and from our Bible. The worship team members who show her ways to use her own talents. The young moms who set an example for her. The older women who express interest about the important things in her life. The youth who spend time hanging out with her.

My daughter is a strong and confident young lady because of the people in her life. She goes out into this world equipped to make a difference. I am her mom, but a better one because of the women who walk beside us.

Traci Rhoades

My name is Traci. I live in southwest Michigan, somewhere in a triangular section connecting Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids with all things Lake Michigan. My husband and I parent one daughter. We have dogs, cats, ducks, pigs and chickens. Their number is always changing, as farm animal counts tend to do. I enjoy watching sports, reading, cooking and all things Bible study. I am a writer. When I first started blogging, I wondered about what unique voice I could bring. I’ve landed on this one line: A country girl goes to church.