Celebrating the unofficial moms

Some years ago, when many working-professional friends became moms in rapid succession, I sent Mother’s Day cards by the stack. We were all new to the mommy-gig. I watched as ultra-confident women questioned their every decision. Should they wake the baby or let him sleep? If the pacifier calms her is it worth risking “nipple confusion” for the peace achieved? 

It was a time we all stood in our new, love-filled roles quaking in our very boots. Never before had anything been so important to us and nothing could have prepared us for how passionately we wanted to get it right.

As I look back upon those first few Mother’s Days, I see that the cards I sent and those I received were validation and encouragement. We wanted to tell one another that: We are moms and we are making it happen (most of the time).

But as long nights turned into bedtime routines and families of one child often grew to families of two, three and four kids, my card sending stopped. In a way it made sense, time was limited, confidence was strong and hugs were provided by kiddos. No longer did validation need to come via the mail. These mom friends of mine remain important to me as I navigate each phase of parenting.

Equally significant, however, are the women in my life that aren’t official moms but are providing love, guidance and strength to me. I forgot to commend these extraordinary people in my early parenting days. It is undeniable that their wisdom and character aligned my mothering compass. As soon as I became a mom, they bestowed their devotion and laughter to my babes with swift immediacy. They mothered us all.

This Mother’s Day, my kids and I will show some admiration and appreciation to my women friends without biological children: aunts, in-laws, neighbors and colleagues who serve as honorary moms to my kids -- loving them fiercely and without question.

We’ll spend the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend assembling bouquets, making cards and baking granola. Come Sunday, we'll deliver our love to the tremendously important, unofficial moms in our life.

Coconut granola
·         8 cups old-fashion rolled oats (not quick cook)
·         2 cups wheat germ
·         1 cup sunflower seeds
·         2 cups walnut halves and pieces
·         1 cup sliced almonds
·         2 cups unsweetened flake coconut
·         ½ cup vegetable oil
·         ½ cup coconut oil
·         ½ cup honey
·         ½ cup maple syrup
·         ½ cup brown sugar
·         1 tablespoon vanilla
·         1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
·         2 cups dried apricot (chopped), and dried cherries

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring oils, sugar, honey, syrup, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice to a boil.
Prepare two baking sheets by covering each with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine, oats, wheat germ, seeds, nuts and coconut flakes
Once fully combined, pour the heated oil mixture over the top and mix through thoroughly
Divide mixture between the two baking sheets.
Back in oven for 25 minutes, checking it when half-way through and stirring granola gently to ensure even baking
Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature
Mix through dried apricots, cherries or other dried fruit of your choice
When fully cooled, fill large jars or bags with two-three cups each of the mixture

Bouquets to go
Assembling multiple bouquets is pretty straightforward with just a few tips. Purchase a variety of different but the same shade of flowers, we used all different white blooms. Lay the flowers out on a flat surface and gather various vases to use. Then, put each bouquet together by building the arrangement in your hand first. This way, you will ensure all the flowers are the same height. Start with a single bloom and build around it, then trim the stems to be even before placing in water.

When it comes to making cards, I leave that to my kids who know far better than I do how to express love and gratitude through crayons and markers. 


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