Happy Mothering Day to all those who are not Mothers through Fate, Choice or Circumstance

Tatiana Androsov
4 min readMay 13, 2023


So, this is not the day for us! But why not? Aren’t we the ones who lend an ear to mothers who do not want or dare bring up their hurts? “Ah, you don’t know how it is to…..” and, so goes the line. We don’t know how to walk up and down the floor cradling a baby who continues to cry and refuses to sleep all night long. But we are there for our friends who, at the moment, can turn to us for a comforting ear.

And how about those of us who are nurses or teachers, especially those of the older generations, when so many who did not light the home fires took care of children or taught them or both while mothers had, if they wished, some hours off. That was certainly the case of Ms. Davis, my fifth and sixth grade teacher at the public school in Passaic, New Jersey.

She was what they call a spinster, an elderly lady of the kind one rarely sees these days, in conservative dresses with very well taken care of short white hair, obviously used to all-night curlers. Ms. Davis was kind, certainly not curt. She was tall, taller than most of our mothers and, standing in front of the class, immediately created an aura where we listened, at least most of the time.

Ah, will never forget! She and a friend who taught the fourth grade introduced all of us to classical music. She did it in a grand way, taking us to an outing at the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York City before it was demolished along with the famous names that had played within its walls. We saw Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the perfect introduction to that kind of music and staging. Yes, there was the flaming statue opening the way to the fires of hell taking down Don Giovanni for his many sins. But there, too, was the laughter of his servant as he went around with the Don, bringing smiles with lighthearted banter and song.

Miss Davis took us to historical sites in New Jersey, so that George Washington seemed to be on horseback right before us, leading his men to fight the British and make us win the Revolution. He was not just a picture in a book.

And there was Miss Spille, in high school, stricter, more strident. I did not like German grammar and did not do very well in it, so she suggested that I not go on to a third year in the language. I did, of course. She could not believe the change. I became the best as literature unfolded before my eyes and led me into imaginary worlds. The grammar fell into place leading to William Tell as he shot through the apple with his arrow. Miss Spille was exuberant. She could not stop praising me, even inviting me for coffee to her house.

My school nurse in Belgium, before I came here, was a spinster. Her fiancé had been killed fighting the Nazis. As she was also my parents’ landlady, living right next door to us, she taught me how to eat very properly with a knife and fork and took me to see the film Desiree, the famous one based on the book about Napoleon’s first love.

Yes, I owe my mother too much to even start going through the list here, but so do I owe these marvelous women in my life. As I have gone through life without biological children, I’ve thought of them and tried to emulate them as I worked in international organizations in the field and in non-profits. I think of them as I try to help, sometimes even in a paltry way, those future generations that surround me and will inherit the world that we leave to them.

I do this by laughing with the young cashiers in the store as I insist on putting everything in the cloth bags I bring along. “To help save the environment,” I wink. I do this by encouraging young students. I do this by becoming a second or a third ‘grandmother’ for others.

You, my fellow women who are not biological mothers, do as much or more for those around you, be they near or far. So, on this Mother’s Day, I wish you all the mothering you deserve!



Tatiana Androsov

A novelist on the sea of life coming, cresting and breaking having traveled near & far from a post WWII immigrant childhood to a UN world of poverty and riches.