Q:  How do you define mother?

A: May 14 is Mother’s Day this year. Merriam Webster defines the word “mother” in all its forms, as a noun, adjective or verb. The first definition is simple and direct: A female parent.

How do you define mother?

When I think of a mother, the first mental pictures that come to mind are my own mother, my grandmother, my aunt and my sister. Growing up, I was fortunate to be surrounded by many caring, nurturing, and wise women. They taught me compassion, helped me to develop my moral compass and always tried to guide me in the right direction. To this day, they remain some of my favorite people. I treasure every moment with the special women who are still present in my life and cherish the memories I have of my grandmother who is gone.

Other people are not as fortunate. I know that many adults had a very different experience with their mothers or mother figures. For them, the approach of Mother’s Day is a challenging time, with difficult memories they can’t reconcile with the Hallmark version of motherhood.

And they aren’t the only ones who struggle with Mother’s Day. Women who miscarried or gave a child up for adoption may always yearn for what never was. Widowers and single dads raising their kids work hard to be both mother and father. Grandparents raising their grandchildren bring extra energy and love to bridge the generational divide.

Princess Diana said, “A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.” I asked kids recently how they would describe or define a mother.

“Someone that helps and loves and respects their kids and cake.” –Bella 9

“Someone who does a lot of things for us and always loves us.” –Onli 10 years old

“Someone who loves us and always likes to play with us.” –Evri 6 years old

“A mother is the person that gives birth to you and the one who takes care of you.” –Hanna 10

“A person who reads to me at night and makes me poached eggs on toast. I love her.”  -Elliot 10

“Someone who loves you and you love SO MUCH.” –Makala 11

However you define mother, one thing is clear: They are all about love. This Mother’s Day I wish every happiness to my mother. And I hope that we all can think fondly about a “mothering figure” who touched our lives in a positive way.

Oh –and cake.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.