They call me "Mom"
In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s talk about mothering another woman’s children.
These kiddos, my kiddos, have another mom. Their mom. The mom that gave birth to them, named them, changed their diapers, wiped their tears, joked with them, and loved them. They have her eyes, or her nose, or maybe her smile. They are her babies. And then one day, because of unfortunate circumstances out of their control, they were taken from her and placed in my home. Just like that, their world changed.
They watch my biological children snuggle with me on the couch at home. And while I snuggle them just as tight, I know it’s not the same. I can see it in their eyes. They miss their mom. I can’t even begin to understand how they feel, or how confusing their world must be.
Now, they call me Mom. Not always. But when they do, my heart fills, because I am their foster mom - I work hard for them to feel loved and protected. They are my babies.
But as we sit in our comfortable home tonight, enjoying dinner together around our family’s table, celebrating moms, my heart breaks a little. How do you fully enjoy a day for moms, when you know that your kids miss their mom? You know she is sitting somewhere missing her babies. How do you spark up conversation about their mom, and allow them to talk about her, without also causing more pain and sadness? How do you help them reconcile that it’s ok to be happy that they have a foster mom that loves them, and also sad that they are not with their biological mom...at the same time? That loving me doesn’t mean that they love her any less. That’s so much for a child to comprehend.
They call me Mom. But that privilege comes from another woman’s struggle. That is a heavy truth to carry.
While I may not approve of the choices their mother has made, she is a mom. She is my kids’ mom. Without her, these beautiful, wonderful, goofy, inspiring children would not exist. And for that, I choose to honor her. And because of that, my heart breaks for her.
That holds true for ALL of my foster children, their birth mothers, future adoptive mothers, and relatives who chose to step up and raise them. I honor you all today. And I think a little extra of our kids today. What a beautiful, confusing, perfect story we all share.
So today, as we celebrate the moms in our lives, I ask that you stop for just a moment and send a little love out into the universe to the moms with complicated stories. Whether we agree with them or not, we can still choose to show love and to support them. And send a little extra love to those kids who are missing their moms today, while also celebrating the moms that are there with them.
I’ll leave you with a quote I found this morning that has stuck in my head all day...
“She is mine in a way that she will never be hers. Yet she is hers in a way that she will never by mine. And so, together we are motherhood.” -Desha Woodall