It was the Saturday morning before surgery when the phone rang in the morning. Really all I had to do for the day was a little laundry and house cleaning. I knew that we would have company over the week and in typical fashion I wanted the house to be clean. Mom was on the other end of the line letting me know that she was at the airport ready to board her flight for Las Vegas. That doesn’t seem unusual, but I actually thought she was coming the Saturday after surgery. Oh my gosh! I was so happy! What a surprise. The days were all so full of details and decisions that I couldn’t be happier that I was shocked. I had planned to fiddle around the house the whole day only to make an hour chore out of it and quickly get to the airport for our special arrival. Before she hung up she murmured that we had her for a week! I whispered to myself that it was my turn, finally my turn…. unfortunately my turn. My mom is really my step mom. We really don’t go into full explanation when we introduce one another to our friends and acquaintances. Instead, you will see that we make direct eye contact with one another and smile BIG when someone questions; your mom looks so young? I’m really only 12 years younger but, she’s still the only woman who dared to love me during those rebellious teenage years. She gave me years of belonging as she took me in her fold and claimed me as her own. My mom helped me understand and forgive the woman who gave birth to me, because my birth mother didn’t have all that it took to mother me. God had a perfect plan to match us up. Because of the power of her unyielding love, I have made it my purpose to keep my wings open wide, pay it forward and love every child as my own who finds themselves in my reach. My mom came to Las Vegas early to prepare me for the sacrifice I was about to make. She listened more than she spoke. She took my side. She took up my defense. She reminded me who I was and turned the last few years of defeat into strength. She told me the truth, I am defined by my boobs, that was my womanhood…. until now. Now, more would be required of me. She told me that she came so I could cry. She prepared me for battle, sent me off with a note pinned to my chest telling of her mighty prayers that had girded up more than one of her children over the years. She has six. Now, we have all had our turn to have her by our side during life’s threats. I’ve watched and learned and I want to be that kind of mom.