Mother’s Day from a Kinship Caregiver’s Lens

Mother’s Day from a Kinship Caregiver’s Lens

Black young woman hugging black young girl smiling
Written by Chiara Jones, MSW, Case Manager, Baltimore City
Published on: May 03, 2024
Category Kinship Care

Mother’s Day is a special day to pay tribute and show appreciation for the incredible women in our lives. No matter if they are a birth mother, adoptive mother, foster mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, guardian, caregiver, godmother, neighbor, friend, mentor or teacher. Mothers and caregivers give of themselves whole-heartedly and unconditionally. No matter how a child comes into their lives, either permanently or temporarily, mothers and caregivers provide care, love, nurture, structure, safety and guidance. Mother’s Day will forever be a day of mixed emotions for me. I am forever grateful for my mother, but I am also heartbroken that my sister is no longer here. My sister left behind four amazing children (ages 17,14, 14 and 8). I became a kinship caregiver overnight. So, when I think of Mother’s Day, I think of four words: honor, grief, celebrate and freedom.


Mother’s Day is all about expressing my appreciation and gratitude to my mother. My mother had a close relationship with her mother, and I have the same with my mother. Our close connection means everything to me. I will cherish the many memories we have had and countless funny moments. My grandmother instilled spiritual values in my mother, and my mother has done the same with me. My mother not only has instilled morals and values into me, but she has shown me her consistent dedication, love and compassion, sacrifices and selfless acts. I honor my mother, not just today but every day. I am the person I am today because of my mother. I carry my mother’s love with me wherever I go. The famous poet, E. E. Cummings’ depicts love in the most purest and honest form when he wrote: “I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).”

When I think about Mother’s Day, I think about my amazing mother. The greatest gift my mother has given me is her unconditional love. My mother is my number one supporter. She has always supported me in everything I have done. There will never be enough words to thank my mother for everything she has done for me and my siblings. My mother has been there for me whenever I have needed her the most. I am forever grateful to be her daughter.


When I think about Mother’s Day, I think about the women who struggle with infertility, the mothers who have lost a child, grandparents who are parenting a second time around, children who have lost their parent(s). My older sister passed away on February 2, 2023. Adjusting to life without my sister has been extremely difficult. Having to face a future without my sister, especially her children’s future is unimaginable. I am broken. I am grieving. And that is okay! Mother’s Day is a tough day, but I’ve had a lot of tough days. Caring for my niece and nephews can be exhausting and challenging. Did I mention that I’m caring for not one, not two but three teenagers? Challenging is definitely an understatement. The thing about grief is that it is a process. Healing will always be ongoing. So, when I think about Mother’s Day, I think about all of my mixed emotions. What helps me is spending time with the kids. When I think about grieving the loss of my sister my heart aches for my niece and nephews because their mother is no longer here. I always think about ways to honor her legacy. I think about ways to keep her traditions going. Being patient with myself helps with coping the loss of my sister. I allow myself time to grieve. The greatest gift my sister has given me is my niece and nephews, and I am truly grateful.

Chi Kinship Family


Mother’s Day is about celebrating the important women in my life, including my mother and sisters. Last Mother’s Day, we started a new tradition. We celebrated as a family by grilling outside, the kids wrote notes to their mother, and put them in a small box. We gifted my mother a memorial blanket with pictures of our family, and we gifted my niece and nephews pillows that had pictures of their mother on it. We spent Mother’s Day reflecting on memories. We all cried some tears and shared some laughter. The most important thing is that we celebrated together as a family, and were there for one another, especially my niece and nephews. We plan to do the same thing this year as we celebrate Mother’s Day.


Mother’s Day is about freedom of all women. Freedom of all mothers and caregivers. Freedom is a practice of sitting with our grief, anger, pain and sadness and accepting ourselves as perfectly imperfect despite what society tells us how we should be. Freedom is about discovering who we are instead of being told who we are. Freedom is being allowed to be yourself. Freedom is unique and inclusive.  Freedom is a journey. My practice of freedom is a reminder that my sister still lives on inside of me and her children. Having freedom is allowing myself to be broken. Often people want a person to be put-together, but that is not my reality. I accept that I will make mistakes parenting my niece and nephews. I accept that holidays will never be the same. I accept that my life will never be the same. I accept that I have to put four lives before mine. I accept that I cannot be perfect.

Being a kinship caregiver has taught me a lot. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned to be extremely patient. I’ve learned the importance of balancing work and home. I wear multiple hats now: daughter, sister, friend, social worker, kinship caregiver, tutor, financial institution, advocate, mentor, the kids’ personal chauffeur, chef, housekeeper and so many more. However, the most important hat that I proudly wear is Aunt Chi! Mother’s Day is the joy of becoming a kinship caregiver to my niece and nephews, being a dog mom to my three bichon/poodle mixes (Jagger, Skyy and Hendrix), celebrating and honoring my wonderful mother and sisters. To all the mothers, foster parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, godmothers, cousins and any other caregivers, I salute you! Happy Mother’s Day. This is OUR day!


My greatest gift to my niece and nephews is that I will always love you unconditionally, like my mother has always done for me. I will lead by example. I promise to always be here for you and never give up on you. I promise to believe in you when you might not believe in yourself. I will support you in everything you do. I vow to always celebrate and honor your mom. I will always be your biggest fan. I will always show up for you. I will give you guidance and support. Love one another and be kind to one another.

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