Remember the show That Girl? Ok, so this show dates me since it aired 1966-1971, but it came to mind as I wanted to write about another girl. This girl... Kelsey. Hopefully we will still be friends after posting a picture I didn't have permission to use, hey, I'm the mother here. I don't often write about my family. Their story is not mine to tell and they may want to tell it themselves someday. In light of the upcoming celebration of mothers on Mother's Day, I want to shed some light on those who made me a mother and call me mom, or in some cases mama! Justin will be always known as our firstborn and only son and will have the added badge of making me a grandma for the first time in August. Hannah is our second born but the first daughter, Kelsey came along two years later, not much of a badge of honor is it? Lauren, our fourth, was born as our last child and gets the title of baby of the family. All four, with a fifth in heaven, have made me the woman I am today. They call me Mom, but they have all played an instrumental part in the forming of how I view the world today. I love them to the moon and back(not sure what that really means, but sounds good!!) But I wanted to tell you about this one who doesn't have a particular motto in the pecking order of the Gates Family. What to say about this girl? She invited me to Albany to celebrate Mother's Day last weekend. She took the time out of her busy schedule of a full-time job and going to school, to plan Friday and Saturday just for me. Ethiopian food, homemade brunch on Saturday morning, a walk through Washington Park and along the Hudson River were highlights. Off to the mall for a pedicure and new shoes to show off my new nail polish were the best way to end our afternoon together. And, yes, there were several cups of coffee to keep us going. Her card to me in essence said thank you for never giving up on her. In fact, it was a music card, when opened, played, I will Survive. Because some days...ok, a lot of days, motherhood is a matter of just surviving until the kids we love so much...are in bed. And that is what I want to leave you with. Even though many days it seems all you do as a mother is survive, we do in fact survive. We can do more than survive whatever season of motherhood we find ourselves in. We can thrive. We can do the next thing, we can serve and love and then love some more. Because the writing in the card thanked me not for the clothes I bought her, or the phone I paid for, or the countless loads of laundry washed or food on the table day in and day out. Yes, those practical acts of love and service do count, but what Kelsey often thanks me for is the unconditional love I(and her dad) have poured into her life. And when I was loving her day in and day out despite what may have happened that day, I wasn't loving her because I knew the outcome. I was loving because Someone had loved me that way. I know first hand the unconditional love of a Heavenly Father, poured out to me, which I then poured into her and Justin, Hannah and Lauren. We aren't, as mothers, promised a certain outcome when we parent to the best of our ability. We press on each day, doing the best we know at this job of 'mothering,' and leave the results with Him. This girl makes me smile...that's her badge!