A Love Letter to my Other Mothers

img_4229.jpgHappy Mother’s Day to all mothers and those who have “mothered” others.  Some reading this have biological children, and some mothered others, without labor pains and delivery! You are all valuable beyond words. I have had both, and I treasure them all. Those women who mothered me without any obligation to do so hold a special place in my heart.

I have written in previous Mother’s Day blog posts about my mother. You can read those posts on http://www.fralixgroup.com. My mother did the very best that she could at this important job of mothering; I truly believe that. As open and as honest as she was, she would agree that in her case, raising me “took a village.” My mother’s influence on me is unquestionable. So is the influence of several other “mothers.”


Grandma Grace


Grandma Grace’s handwritten letter about me

Both of my grandmothers had a profound influence on my life. They have both been rejoicing with the angels in heaven for many years. I would not have made it out of childhood or would not have been able to live the life I have lived had it not been for their care and caring. In many ways, they were wonderful role models for me as a grandmother, although I have never had the need to give to my grandchildren what they were both called to give to me. Grandma Grace, my mother’s mother, raised me from the time I was a young child (not sure exactly what age) until I finished 3rd grade. My dad’s mother, Grandma Delma, picked up where Grandma Grace left off, keeping me in church, which Grandma Grace had started.  It was in my grandparents’ church in Virginia Beach that I found a wonderful family who took me in as theirs.


My Aunt Evelyn (Bebo) and my mother, Doris Foster (L to R)

My Aunt Evelyn, who I always called Bebo, was my mother’s closest sister. She and Uncle Barry took me in at different times in my childhood, providing a haven for me that I needed, providing a sense of normalcy that was otherwise lacking. In their home, I had regular meals and a family unit that was lacking elsewhere. With two sons who were more like brothers to me than cousins, I was the daughter they never had. I learned whatever cleaning skills I have from Bebo and will always remember how she and I connected with (cleaned) the baseboards on Friday nights, while Uncle Barry connected with his buddies at the local “watering hole!”


Jean and Marshall Jackson

Jean and Marshall Jackson were youth leaders at my grandparents’ church. I was in their youth group, and they “adopted” me, taking me home with them most Sundays. It was in their home that I learned what family is all about.  Although they had a daughter and a son, both younger than me, they accepted me as their own. Their care of me continued until I was in college and married. Jean and Marshall drove me to and from college from Virginia Beach to Charlottesville many times, providing a sense of normalcy in an otherwise not very “normal” life.  Jean was the epitome of a mother, and I will always be grateful for the influence she had on my life. Of all of those I have mentioned and will mention, Jean is the only one who is still living. What a treasure she has been in my life.


Coy and Shirley (Shirshee) Davis

My other “mother” was Shirley Davis, known to daughter Tara and me as “Shirshee.” Shirshee was my adult “mother” and was as much of a grandmother to Tara as were her biological grandmothers. Shirshee’s daughter Pam and I were best friends as young adults and still are, these many years later. We all became family in 1974, and remain so to this day, although Shirshee left us for her heavenly home too many years ago. Tara is a wonderful mother, and much of the credit for that goes to Shirshee.  Shirshee’s influence was godly, and her legacy lives on in my granddaughters through the influence she had on their mother. The cycle of life continues, and we are proof positive that the cycle of life is not always biological.

Mothering is an awesome responsibility.  Some mothers we acquire by birth; others we are fortunate enough to find along the way through various circumstances.


Grandmother Delma and Granddaddy Alex Harris

To Grandma Grace and Grandma Delma, thank you for showing me family love that knows no end. To Bebo, I was honored to be the daughter you never otherwise had, and I am trying to keep clean baseboards!  And Jean, you will never truly know how your mothering changed my life, and how grateful I will always be for you. Shirshee, the greatest testament to the influence you had on my life is the mother Tara has become. I will share any rewards from that with you, for I know you rightly earned them!

As a mother myself, I know first-hand of the amazing responsibility.  It is important to care for our biological children, and I know most reading this do so. We deserve to be honored on this Mother’s Day. Yes, there is a lot of responsibility in mothering.  There is also a joy beyond measure in being a mother.

Then there is another level of giving, that of giving to those to whom we have no obligation to do so. I am amazed that some mothers who had no reason to do so took me in as one of theirs, and made my life so much better because of that.  These are my other mothers.


A surprise gift daughter Tara left for me a few weeks ago.

On this Mother’s Day, I thank my other mothers for all of their love and caring.  Words are inadequate to describe what you have meant to me. I love you with a love that knows no end. For as you first loved me.


Patti name


About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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2 Responses to A Love Letter to my Other Mothers

  1. Patti, what beautiful and heartfelt sentiments this morning. Shirshee loved you and Tara so much. Yes, she would be so proud of Tara and her beautiful girls! This beautifully written post has warmed my heart and moistened my eyes this morning, tears of so joy over many sweet memories. Happy Mother’s Day my friend. On a lighter note, I will never forget the day you became a Mother! Love you❤️

  2. Patti Fralix says:

    Thank you so much, Pamelina. I will always be grateful for the times spent with Shirshee and Coke Man. They had such a profound influence on Tara and my life. As did all of the family. So many wonderful times spent at Shirshee’s table. So many sweet memories. And the memory about the day I became a mother! You were there for me, and even though you passed out, you were there! Happy Mother’s Day to you also, dearest friend.

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