Saluting my Children on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day weekend just passed and during this time of honoring my Mom, I’m also thankful to be a Mom.

But me being a Mom is tribute to my kids.

As most of you know, I married a widower who had two children. So, I became an instant Mother on my wedding day.

We’ve all heard the stories of step-mothers and how awful they can be. Well, I didn’t want to be part of that story. But I also needed to find the balance between respecting the memory of my step-children’s mother while finding my own way in my new family. I didn’t want to take her place, but I wanted to find my own place — somehow, there had to be room for me.

I couldn’t achieve this on my own. Oh, I definitely had a part to play, but in order to make any kind of motherhood work, it was up to the kids.

Even as a teenager and pre-teen, the kids were smart enough to know there was room for me in their hearts. They knew loving me and treating me like a mother wasn’t an insult to their mother’s memory.

My goal was to love and raise these kids as I think their mother would’ve wanted them to be loved and raised. Any Mom only wants the best for her kids. It doesn’t have to be a competition between a memory and me.

By loving them how I thought their mother would want them to be loved and cared for, I honored their Mom — I didn’t wipe away her existence.

With the kids, they just had another person in their life that loved them and had their back.

But again, none of it would’ve been possible without the kids making that choice.

We had to choose to love each other and forge our own relationships with each other.

On Mother’s Day, I honor my kids — for making the choice to open their hearts and let me in. I’m the bonus mom, and I can’t imagine loving them anymore had I been their mom from birth.

Thanks, kids, for making me a Mom.  It’s a job I love.

Combine All Ingredients, Mix Well… and Add a Dash of Love

In today’s world, I’m sure all of us know someone who is part of a “blended” family — with step-parents, step-siblings, half-brothers and sisters and the like. Perhaps you’re one of these “step” or “half” relations yourself.

Sometimes these blended families don’t mix together very well. Differing personalities, choices about who’s yours and who’s mine can cause a lumpy mixture instead of a smooth one.

So what makes it work? I know of one family who has made it work, where the parents are parents and the kids are kids, and there are no labels like “step” or “half.” It doesn’t even enter their vocabulary.

Here’s their story in a nutshell: The husband fell in love and married a woman, who was a single mother to a beautiful little boy. That boy was three years old when they married. Together, this new couple had a daughter. So, already, you have a step-son, step-father, and half-sister. But they were family.

Sadly, some years later, the wife passed away. The husband remarried. So, enter wife #2, who somehow needs to blend in to this family and become a mother to two teenagers while respecting their deceased mother.

The only way this family could blend well was to mix it with love. The new wife had to learn to appreciate their traditions from before, while slowly making new traditions that they could share together. It was finding ways to blend the past and the present… to appreciate what came before, while creating the new family today.

Was this always easy to do? No, of course not. But it came down to everyone involved making the choice… they made the choice to love each other.

The kids noted their dad was happy again after the passing of his first wife, so maybe they needed to give this second wife a chance. Their new mother was different and had her own ways, but she wasn’t so bad. Again, she made Dad happy. And she was good about allowing them to have their friends over and always seemed to have brownies and Dr Pepper at the ready.

She stumbled a few times along the way. Things were not perfect. But wife #2 knew she had to make her place in this family and not be a replacement. Her husband helped her with that by making another choice…to treat her as someone who had a place in this family and wasn’t a replacement for his late wife.

As a mother, wife #2 could only learn on the job. But her attitude in “claiming” the kids as her own was this: Any mother, if they can’t be there for their kids, just wants them to be loved and well-cared for. So wife #2 figured the best thing she could do for those kids and as a show of respect to their mother, was to love them and take care of them. Treat them like their mother would’ve wanted them treated. Period. It was pretty simple once she kept that in mind. Any mother wants someone to love and care for their kids if she can’t be there.

So, this family blended together by choice, mixed together, had a few lumps along the way, but always added that dash of love. Don’t forget your sense of humor as well!

What about you? Do you know of blended families that really make it work? What’s their secret?

Please share.

As for the “rest of the story” (as Paul Harvey would say), I lived this story I told you today, and know it from the heart.

I am “wife #2.”

I look forward to hearing from you.

Photo credit: roshan1286 / / CC BY