Guest Mom Deborah Swan: Three Daughters, Each an Angel in Her Own Right

Deborah Swan, a mother of three daughters who lives in southern New Jersey, has been an elementary school teacher for 35 years. She loves her profession, but is looking forward to retiring to pursue some artistic cravings she put on hold. She enjoys cooking and sharing her culinary talents with family and friends. One of her goals is to live within walking distance of a beach so she can sit and listen to the waves.

Dear Colleen, Lindsay and Courtney,

“Poor Mrs. Stevenson has THREE GIRLS!”

I said it as though I was secretly sharing with my colleague that my student’s mother had a terminal illness.

What would you possibly do with three girls?

Well, life is filled with many ironies, and here I am ready to celebrate my 30th Mother’s Day, as the mother of you THREE GIRLS!

My tone is different when I speak of the three of you. There’s no terminal illness quality in how I say it. My pride flows so easily from my lips – no hesitation, no regrets, just thankfulness and joy. There’s such a profound gratefulness you are all here. Each of you has enhanced my life in too many ways to share, but I’d love readers to know just how proud I am of the women my daughters have become.You have all learned how giving to others will fill your soul with a joy that is ineffable.

Colleen, you work tirelessly to teach your high school students so much more than the academics. I see from their letters and Facebook messages how you have touched their lives and their futures forever. What a gift you have chosen to share!

Lindsay, being a palliative care nurse has to be so hard as you watch your patients prepare to pass on in a dignified manner. I’m sure seeing your smile and feeling your gentle touch brings them and their families comfort in those final days. What a special calling you have!

And Courtney, you too have chosen a field to help others. As a music therapist, your desire to work in the field of geriatrics is very impressive. Most twenty year olds don’t have the appreciation for senior citizens that you do. When you graduate in 2013, I have no doubt that you will bring such joy to all you share your music with!

I couldn’t be prouder that you have all chosen fields to help others. I believe that to be one of my greatest lessons to each of you. Well, having been a daughter myself, I know all too well that at some point, we fear we will be just like our mothers.

Secretly, or sometimes not so secretly, we have been known to say, “Shoot me if I turn into my mother!” News flash: each of you at some point has seen me in yourselves; whether it’s buying the same Christmas cards at different stores, saying the exact same thing at the same time, or making the same dinner without even talking to each other, I am forever a part of you, forever connected – the good and the not so good.

Scary isn’t it?

I hope that when the fear passes, you will embrace it as a teachable moment and recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. May those lessons enable you to go on to be better women and better mothers. I’m thankful each day how blessed my life is and how full my heart because of the three of you.

As I celebrate Mother’s Day, I secretly pray for a special gift for myself, the gift of time, so that I may spend many more Mother’s Days as your mother. of you three girls!

I love you all,


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