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Monday, May 14, 2012

My Mother's Day Gift

This year for Mother's Day my mother, my brother, me and the kids, and my boyfriend went to the beach for a weekend getaway.  We all had a phenomenal time; lots of laughing, lots of enjoying each other, lots of bonding.  The kids especially relished in the adventure.  They are at such a fun age where the world is full of wonder and new things to be learned.  They are constantly learning new things, using new phrases, gaining new skills. And I realized something while we were there.  I realized how very grateful I am that I have people around me to bear witness to them and all they are doing.  Someone to share the ups and downs with.  Someone who gets just as excited as I do about them.  Someone to share the memories with.

Looking back over the past two years some of the loneliest moments have been those in which I was alone with my children and they did something remarkable or worth remembering and I realized I am the only keeper of these memories.  There was no one there for me to turn to and say,
"Did you see that?"
"Did you hear that?"
"Can you believe she just did that?"

 It is so comforting to have the support of those who love me and the girls around us so I'm not the only one bearing witness to their beautiful spirits, their innate genuine happiness, and to their continual evolution of who they will become.  In this grief process you learn to appreciate things you would've never even thought of before, and I am so grateful I don't have to keep doing this alone.  There is always someone there for me to turn to and say..."Look at them, just look...aren't they great?"

Mother's Day...the day we honor our mothers for all they have done for us. But this year I can only reflect on all my kids have done for me. They have been my shining light, my joy, my motivation to keep going, and my reason for everything. Despite the fact that there was a brief time right after Andie died when I thought it would've been easier if we'd never had them. I tried to rationalize that I could've handled the despairing emotions much better if I didn't have to be distracted by caring for them. But now of course, I see God handled that as well as he handles everything: perfectly. He knew that I needed them. I needed the distraction to keep pushing me forward towards a purpose greater than myself so I would not fall in the pit of despair and never recover. He knew that these girls would bring me more joy than I could ever find in any other way. They were his gift to me...
So I'm pleased to say that I had a very happy Mother's Day.

Monday, May 7, 2012


I’d like to respond to a comment an anonymous poster left on my post “Second Best” which is not something I normally do as this blog is not a forum for judgement and argument, but I feel it’s important to clarify my stance because the blog was written at a heightened emotional state and I’m realizing it didn’t come across as I intended. Below is the comment he left for me:

“This is particularly sad to me as I am a step father to 2 amazing children. I've been their step father for 2 years, a boy 12 and girl 6. First of all, I would have NEVER married their mother if I had any doubts that I was in absolute love with her children. They have a father who is active in their life, I happen to like him as well. But before I married my wife, I took the time to get to know & love my step children, just as I love my children and my nieces and nephews. If my sister and brother in law both decease while their children are under age, my wife and I will become their guardians. Because we love them "unconditionally". I hope the person who comes into your life and choses you and your kids never comes across this blog. If my wife felt I were "2nd best" at loving her children, that would cut so deeply, a wound that may never be healed. And if she ever had these thoughts, which she very well may have, I'm glad she never said them outloud for all the world to read. I truly feel for you. Good luck.”

The purpose of this blog is to be real and honest and to share emotions that are authentic and raw, and in doing so, to hopefully help someone else feel less alone or less crazy because maybe they can see that someone relates to them. While I did express my emotions openly and honestly “for all the world to read” is was only after a very lengthy discussion on this topic with the man in my life.  I assure you I did not blindside him with that post.

Let me first say that it is my opinion (which I am entitled to) that the best option for my girls would be for them to still have their biological father, given that this is impossible it is by that nature that whoever becomes their father figure will be "second best".  I think it’s a natural feeling to believe that the child’s biological parent is the first and best option for a child. It was in that spirit that the post was written.   Secondly, I also meant that I did not want my girls to ever feel that they were "second best" because they were someone's step-children and were not biologically tied to him.  As a parent you want to protect your children from hurt and I don't want them to ever question whether or not they are loved as much as their would be step-siblings.  I did not intend to imply that step-parents are not capable of loving their step-children as they would their own.

What I was trying to say is that I am profoundly sad for my children that they will not ever know the love their father had for them. I am thrilled and honored that they will come to know the love of this man though, who will love them like he loves his own children. But I know that the bond will be somewhat different than the bond they would’ve had with their biological father. I am sad about the loss of the relationship they could’ve had with their father.  The post was NEVER about me doubting that the man I've chosen to be in our lives is the best person to fulfill the father figure role to my children.  It was never about me believing that he was giving his "second best" effort.  Simply put, I want to preserve the sacredness of their father's place and give it the honor it deserves, while also allowing another wonderful man to be a part of my childrens' lives at the same time.

The loss of a parent to death versus divorce is a vastly different experience for a child. While both are deeply hurtful, they are different. I absolutely appreciate great men, like I’m sure this anonymous poster is, who step in and become great step-parents, but it is a very different experience when those children also have their biological parent involved too. When that is the case the step-parent is not expected to be the sole provider in that type of role, rather they are expected to share it with the biological parent and be an extra support to the child. But in the death of a parent the new step-parent becomes more of a “replacement” in a sense because they become the only one fulfilling that role; the responsibility is heavier. I know I am not the only woman who has worried if her new spouse will love her children as much as she believes her children deserve.

I believe there is no bond or level of love like that of a parent and their child. As someone who lost her father at a young age I can see both sides of this issue. I remember not wanting my own mother to ever remarry because I as a child I felt that nobody would ever or could ever love me or my mother the way my father had. Perhaps that is where some of my fear for my own children comes from…I don’t want them to ever have the notion that they are not loved immensely. I want to protect them from the same feelings I had. I know they will be loved beyond measure, but I don’t want them to ever have to question or doubt it.

Luckily, I have found a man who does adore me and my children, and is strong enough to take on the challenge of becoming a father figure to them. But more importantly, he understands that honest communication about my grief and the unexpected and not always rational emotions it brings up is the only way to make our relationship work. In considering remarrying and becoming a step-mother I would never expect to supersede the role of my step-childrens’ biological mother, or believe that I could love them more than their biological mother could. I am comfortable with being “second best” in that sense. I would never want to take top billing; that would be selfish of me, and not fair to the children or their mother for me to expect it.

It is in that way that I meant “second best”…it is not that I feel the man entering my kids' lives is giving his “second best” . Quite the contrary, he gives 110% in being the best to fulfill the step-father role, and he is absolutely without a doubt in my mind the very best man I could’ve chosen to be a father figure to my children.