Yesterday was Mother's Day in New Zealand.
My own Mum died about sixteen years ago, and although I can call her smiling face to mind any time I wish, the pain of loss has been blunted over the years.
The reason for this is not just the passage of time (which heals all things ... except old age, a condition which creeps inexorably on) but also because of the many wonderful women in my life since her death, that have, at times, acted in the capacity of mother.
By this I mean that they were 'there' for me at certain times when I needed advice, listening to, and physically holding.
(Now, I hasten to add that there are wonderful men in my life too, who have, and continue to have this role, not least my terrific, loving and patient partner of the last two years who has had a very soggy shoulder on a number of occasions, and also tired ears!)
But being Mothers' Day, I've been thinking about all the non-mother wonderful women (and girls) who have mothered me, and I realised that I want to acknowledge them. Here are some of them. (At least a couple are very shy and I haven't photos of them!)
Aren't they all a fantastic bunch of people? Aren't I lucky?