The hostess at the restaurant register. The pharmacist. The clerk ready to help confused customers at the grocery self-checkout lane. Each sent me on my way with the same cheerful wish for the weekend.

“Happy Mother’s Day.”

I don’t try to retract this traditional pleasantry with an explanation anymore, even though I’m not a Mom in the traditional sense.  My kids have all been adopted. They’ve worn fur coats year round.  I’ve buried the body of one and the ashes of another. The three with me now smile when I come home, whine for a treat, jump and twirl with joy at the promise of quality time together, lean against my leg or curl up at my side to let me know I’m loved.

When asked if I have children, I say “a blonde, brunette and a red head.” A pair of husky-mix mutts and a purebred with copper-colored fur and big blue eyes.

Yes, I am a Mom.