I am not their birth mother. Linda is. We dreamed them together - and then again with their two Dads long before they were born. Each boy, each son I have held in my hands and my heart since each one's first breath. Each boy has been a teacher. Each one pushed me farther than I thought I could go. Each one has been just what I needed at just the right time.
Linda and I had been together for nine years when we talked seriously and hopefully about having kids. Daddy John and I had shared work in the HIV/AIDS community and we talked with him being Dad. The three of us went into this notion of a shared family with a covenant and many prayers. John and Rande got together in the midst of this, and Rande courageously joined the family. Brogan was born in 1998 and Sam joined us in 2001. By that time Sam was welcomed by two mommies and two daddies.
Being Mom to Brogan and Sam has given me a whole new lens for witnessing the world. With them, I see the world in much bigger ways. With them, I see the world as not ending when I die, but going on long past me. They have taught me about diversity, about forgiveness, about hope. Together we have learned about mistakes, large and small - and we have learned that no matter what, we are together in it. With them and through them, I have grown into a more graceful and generous person. With them and through them, the world has become a more endearing and enduring place.
Being a mother has a truly impossible job description. Linda is amazing mother. She is somehow able to juggle an endless number of things at the same time – dentist appointments, leaky faucets, doctors appointments, band concerts, permission slips, the pictures from the prom, not forgetting menus and bills. I have no idea truly, how she does it. And she's amazing about the life lessons that she daily instills upon them.
I am not that kind of mother. I am the kind of mother that coaches their baseball teams, the kind that hugs them at the beginning and ending of the day. I am the kind of mother that insists that they slow down with all this growing-up business. I am the kind of mother that cries every Sunday in church. Truly I believe that the boys are blessed to have us both.
On this Mother's Day, I am giving thanks to God for the opportunity of sharing the lives of these two boys that I didn't give birth to. I give thanks for the privilege of journeying with them every day of their lives. Never thinking for one minute that I would be a mother, God has graciously shared these two young men. God has shared these two strong souls who faithfully nudge me into God's possibility of YES. These two precious babies, they have grown into thoughtful, compassionate men.
I am forever grateful to Linda for believing this could happen. I am forever grateful to Daddy Rande and Daddy John for this co-parenting adventure that we have chosen. My life is rich and wonderful, most every day to be one of Brogan and Sam's moms.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.