I don’t believe the average person gets married anticipating divorce. I know the average woman doesn’t have children envisioning what it will someday be like to have someone else raising them. It’s true, dear Jamie, you were not a part of my original plan or a dreamt up member of my ideal family. Seven years ago, the thought of another woman in my children’s lives made me practically insane. Of course I also don’t imagine we were a part of your fairy tale depiction of family life either.
When you came into our lives, I struggled with the fact another woman would be mothering my children. I was wildly envious of the time you would spend with them while I could not. I died a little inside each time I thought of my children loving and admiring you. It didn’t take long though, and I grew thankful.
From the very beginning, you’ve accepted our children; and Lord knows there were times when a wild-eyed-3-year-old boy and a stubborn-keeps-her-feelings-to-herself-7-year-old girl could be trying. It terrified me, and I loved them with every fiber of my being! You have loved them and their Father unconditionally – a blessing all the way around. You’ve made our children a part of all that you do, all the while ensuring they feel loved and accepted. Most important and admirable, is the way you put their relationship with their Dad ahead of your own. That’s an act of true love only a brave and courageous woman knows how to quietly execute.
I used to cry at night knowing there would be times my babies would need me and I wouldn’t be there, but then you came along. I’m so thankful you’re there and you’ve been there. I’m grateful you haven’t run with your hair on fire during some of Max’s antics or Abbey’s teenage years. I’m glad you’re there to bridge the gap, to kiss boo boos, read stories, take adventures, go to the salon, and help Daddy understand his little girl as she grows into a young lady. They need a Mommy all the time, at my house and at yours;and you’ve stepped up to that plate in ways I thought I only could have hoped for.
I’ve never felt upstaged or overruled by you. You’ve respected me as their Mom from the start. I appreciate the relationship you and I have and the way we can communicate – I know this is rare and that I’m a very lucky girl. It isn’t nearly often enough that a Mom and Stepmom message to remind each other of this appreciation of one another – and I’m so glad (as you always say) that “we get it”!
Because of you and your courage to mother our kids in the way you do, it can only add richness to their character and help them become better people. They are growing up so fast; but with more love than I could ever have dreamt for them! It wasn’t their choice to be children of divorce, to have two homes, crazy schedules, and whacky parents 😉 I like to think our relationship as a blended family has helped them to realize sometimes “bad” things can turn into blessings.
You are not a “fill in” when I’m not there. You are a gift – you are their bonus Mother – when they’re with you or when they are away. They think of you daily, they miss you when you’re gone, they’re excited to see you and share their daily stories with you. It used to take my breath away like a blow to the gut to think of them like this with another woman; now it steals my heart.
I am grateful we can not only talk, but have developed a friendship. I am so thankful we can rise above some of the ugliness divorce can bring and truly put the kids first. I cannot thank you enough for being thoughtful and respectful enough to co-parent not only with their Father, but with me!
In return for all you’ve done, I promise never to undermine you. I promise to always value your input on major decisions we’ll make along the way. I promise to always remind the kids they have two strong, amazing women, who love them more than they will ever know.
Happy Mother’s Day!