momsI have been lucky enough to have a lot of moms in my life. There’s Pat, who gave birth to me, praising and supporting me and teaching me that one positive word goes so much further than five negative ones. Then there’s June, who lived with us from the time I was 8, helping my single mom take care of me, cooking and cleaning for me, and sewing one of my all-time favorite outfits when I was about 9. She turned me into the nurturing woman I am today.

When I was 10, my dad married Linda, and for about the first 10 years of our relationship, she wasn’t so much a mother figure as an adversary to me. (Not an evil stepmother, but just the old “you’re not my mother” syndrome.) However, when I became an adult, she became one of my very best friends instead. And watching her with my dad showed me the best example of marriage I could’ve had.

Two years ago, I added another mom to my long list, a mother-in-law. I had heard all the stories about these creatures: you’ll never be good enough for their son; they’ll try to tell you how to cook; they’ll criticize your cleaning skills. Alice was none of these things. In fact, if I could have handpicked a mother-in-law off the Mom Tree, I would’ve chosen her. Seems by waiting 53 years to tie the knot, I not only found the best guy for me, but I also got the best mother-in-law in the bargain!

Last mom, and certainly not the least, is Nancy. The joke in our family has always been that my mother’s younger sister was my real mom because we were so much alike. Aunt Nancy didn’t have any daughters so she naturally doted on me as a kid. Since I’ve grown up, we’ve developed a bond that goes way beyond our physical characteristics and shared love of antiques.

Up until last year, I had all five of these moms in my life, but then in January 2015, I came “this close” to losing Pat, and this past January, I did lose June. This Mother’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning for me. It’s not just about going to Hallmark, ordering flowers, or squeezing in a phone call. It’s about remembering how special your mom is, how she made you who you are and how different your life would be without her. Then, for goodness sake, tell her!