Thursday, September 27, 2012
Funny thing about plans, they don't always go as planned. By the time I was ready, by the time I had found the right man, by then, it was too late. And so now, I live with the fact that I will never have children of my own...ever.
When I was younger I never gave it much thought. I never had an overwhelming maternal instinct. Never sat around doodling the names of the children I would have one day. No, I guess I figured it would happen when it was right. When I was ready. I never considered that when I was ready, it would already be too late.
Don't get me wrong, physically I could have had children, but it was like that window of opportunity was closed. The man I fell in love with, he already had two half-grown children. He wasn't at a place to start over again, I knew that. We talked about that. So, I made a choice. I chose to love him anyway, and to also, love his children.
No, I would never be a mom. I would choose instead, to be a stepmom. And it's been both the hardest and the best decision of my life.
Being a 'stepmom' is hard. First, you must have thick skin..VERY thick skin. You will hear, more times than you can count, "Oh, you're just the stepmom? Don't you have any real kids?" You will be expected to sacrifice and care for these children as they are your own, but you will be reminded in many different ways, they are NOT your own. You will love them, but you will always worry that their love for you is conditional. You will worry that if you allow yourself to love these children too much, you will only end up hurt. And you will worry, that you are stepping over the line in every situation.
I am NOT their mom. I have no delusions about that. My stepkids have a mom and she is 100% present in their lives. I WANT them to have a great relationship with their mom. I will always want that for them. Why? Because I LOVE them, that's why. Because the relationship between mother and child is so very, very important.
I am always trying to balance doing enough, but not doing too much. To giving enough, but not expecting much in return. No, it's not easy, but I can't imagine my life without them in it. I am fortunate that their real mom includes me in their lives. I am sure it is not easy for her either. I can't imagine feeling like you are sharing your children with another woman. Early on, it was difficult. We knocked heads a few times (maybe more than a few). There were unpleasantries said from both sides, but there was a learning curve to figure out...for both of us. She needed to draw that line in the sand... making sure I knew she was the MOM. I needed to make her understand that I was here to stay and that I needed to be respected for the role I would play in her children's lives. It's been a roller coaster at times, but I think we have navigated our family dynamics the best we know how. I hope, always putting the interests of the kids before our own.
So yes, I may be just a stepmom, but I hope I am being the best stepmom I can be.