Thinking back I feel like I instantly became a step-mom, and honestly its a little shocking that it went so seriously so quickly. I remember being at my Mother-in-laws house for Christmas dinner, and all the family being there. My Stepson walked up to me and said something along the lines of “Mommy can I have some milk?”, and I didn’t know how to answer, and not about the milk, but the mommy part. I had at that point made sure that he knew how to call me by my first name, but because my children called me Mommy, he just picked it up. I of course stumbled, and mumbled and I overheard some voices behind me asking my mother in law “Did he just call her mommy?” and she very assertively said, “Yes, she is his mom when he is here, and we don’t see the need to differentiate in our home.” Getting him his milk, and moving on without a thought, our life just moved forward from there.
Being a mother to children whose father is remarried, I understood the stigma behind my children calling some other woman, Mom. It is not a dismiss-able, minor detail, and I talked to my mother-in-law and husband about how it would make me feel, and that I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. But, they both made a great point, I didn’t ask him or tell him to call me that, neither had my husband, he had done this on his own, and it would make him feel different if I made him stop and call me something different. But, I would by lying if I said that deep inside, I don’t still feel a little guilty that even two years later, he still calls me mom.
The difference between now and then of course, is that I am his mom, for all intensive purposes. He is the brother to my children, my husbands son, and we do everything any other normal family does. My duties as a mother to my two biological children, are no different with him, I still feed, bathe, and care for him. My husband and I provide a loving home for him, incur medical expenses, take him to regular doctors visits, kiss away boo boos, discipline him, and have weekend morning snuggle time. The only difference between me and my husbands ex-wife, is that I didn’t give birth to him. One small, MAJOR detail, that is constantly thrown in my face, a non-existent serious life event that will forever exclude me from all the future “Mom” events.
But, when we are in our little home, with our little family, I am safe from this exclusion. There is no worry about his wedding day, and when he has his first child, and what role I will play in those days, if any. We don’t talk about the day when he might come to me and decide to no longer call me mom, or the day he is old enough to not want to come for visits, and the possibility that he wont always love me the way he does now. Forgetting that I will more times than not come in second, possibly be forgotten, excluded and deemed the enemy by his REAL mom. I forget he isn’t mine, that he isn’t fully my daughters brother, and my sons brother, and that he isn’t going to stay forever. Then, when Sunday comes, my heart feels heavy, the day is saddened, and I prepare for the disconnect that will continue my hearts beating while my son goes walking on his own for another week. Which in and of itself makes me feel like his is my son, because there is a quote that says ‘Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” by Elizabeth Stone. Which rings more truer that I ever realized.
Seeing the excitement, when we pull up to where his mother is waiting, makes my heart both happy and sad – obviously I love anything that makes his little heart happy, and even though for me personally she ranks nowhere, she makes him happy – and I know at the end of the day, if he never got to see me again, he would be just fine. Sure, he would ask about me, but he has his mom to fall back on. For me, if I could never see him again, my heart would suffer, it would break and I would never be the same, he is apart of me, he has grown into my heart, into my soul, he is an incredible blessing to my life, and it terrifies me to think of losing him.
But, this is the life I chose when I chose my husband and son to join us. I chose this when I decided to love without any conditions, to love completely, selflessly, and to never let him feel any less than mine.