It takes a village to raise a child, but a mother's love knows no boundaries.
Today is Mother's Day, a day that is celebrated throughout the world, but this year there will be a shadow over the homage we pay to our mothers for their care, love and guidance because of the covid19 pandemic.
Most will not be able to see, hug or kiss their moms, and this is what Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian, 43, will miss most.
Married for 21 years to her husband Daniel Julian, she has five children – two girls, two boys and a foster daughter – all ranging from 20 years to 20 months, Morris-Julian feels blessed.
She says she has a very strong support system with her five sisters, her brother, her grandmother, father, and especially her mother Ann Morris.
"I know not everyone is as lucky as I am. I have five sisters, my mother is still alive, very strong, very vibrant. I have my grandmother and one of my dearest friends is the main caregiver of my baby. I have a husband who does not lime and who knows about parenting and being a good father."
The mayor said she had her first child, a daughter when she was 23 and practically felt like a child herself.
"I was in awe of everything, from the top of her head to her toes to every strand of hair. I was totally fascinated.
I didn't want anybody to see about her, but now that I'm older and wiser it's different with the last baby. But my first baby, I don't think anything comes close to that feeling of 'oh, my goodness, she came out of me, I just want to protect her'."
Morris-Julian's heart for fostering came from her mother who had fostered other children over the years.
Her foster daughter is her daughter's friend who was having a difficult time at home.
"Her mother is a very good mother as far as I am concerned, but she asked me to step in and help and that's the arrangement that we have. My mother has seven children and we weren't wealthy when growing up and she made tremendous sacrifices to ensure that we got a good education.
"She is one of the most intelligent women that I know. She is very, very quiet until you get to know her, but also very determined and stubborn. She was the one who would always push us, especially when we can't push ourselves. She didn't go past secondary school, she doesn't have her university degree. Everything with her is self-taught but every time I looked up I saw competent, capable, compassion.
"Many people stayed with us while we were growing up. Same scenario with me, so they could go to school, or until things got better, from battered women to relatives from the countryside. Fostering is something that I learned from my mother. When someone is in trouble I will step in. As a councillor I see that as a natural extension. My grandmother was also a councillor so I have it from both sides."
Morris-Julian's grandfather, Leroy Morris, was also a mayor of Arima.
While her mother was the quiet one, she ruled the nest.
"She was extremely strict. She was quiet like a cobra, but very deadly. You know when she throws that eye on you...in fact, I would prefer to get the licks than get the eye. My father is the easy going one, you can get away with anything with him."
Morris-Julian said it pains her to know that she cannot hug or kiss her mom on Mother's Day because of the pandemic.
"I haven't held my mother in about nine weeks and that has been very hard for me. The lack of physical touch and not being able to hold her has been hard. It is not that she is a big hugger and kisser, it's just that she is always around and the social distancing has been difficult for me too.
"I am out here every day because we are essential and I have to go through so much before I can even touch my children. Now I don't hold the baby like I usually would because out here is difficult because you have to wear a mask and wash your hands and don't touch your face and you don't want to make a mistake."
On Tuesday, she made a mistake. She forgot to take off her shoes when she got home and had to run back outside.
"I take off my clothes in the corridor, wash my hands, pray, and the baby was coming to me and I had to run back outside. That is one of the things I miss the most. That is when I remember how important that touch is."
Morris-Julian said she has raised her sons to be independent and they do not always share the same views. One of her daughters she described as a "political animal" while the other was apolitical.
"I raised them to make decisions for themselves, to think for themselves. You don't want to raise children in your image and likeness. You want to raise good, kind, decent human beings and allow them to be who they are in whatever form or fashion they choose.
"I tell my girls don't let anyone limit you to where you can be because I have a mother who told me that that don't let anyone tell me what I cannot do but tell me what I could, and that's what I have been doing ever since."