I always knew I wanted to be a mother.
I never imagined my life without a family and I certainly had lots of practice nurturing baby animals and babysitting on the farm.
Having said that, I felt fate gave me boys: two hilarious, ridiculous and busy boys. Why? Because even though I knew it would be fun to have a girl, I knew that I was far from a girlie-girl. I mean, as a kid, I lived out my days like Billy Jack, riding ponies and shooting cap guns, staging shows and cooking up adventures. I felt confident to handle two rumbly-tumbly boys; I wasn’t sure that I could manage a Barbie-playing girl.
But, in time, life brought me a daughter-in-law and, a later, a grand-daughter. Cool, the scales have shifted, I thought. Secretly, I envisioned all kinds of girlie escapades for us. I took my time getting to know her and making sure I wasn’t one of those mother-in-laws, overpowering or with-holding. I accepted her and her cute little boy and tried to let her know that if you love my boy that’s enough for me.
But, here’s what I didn’t anticipate: I never expected that I’d mother her, too. I mean, I knew she had a Mom and I’d heard enough to know that they weren’t as close as could be, but still, I hesitated … better tread softly here.
So, as it does, life moved along and I began to notice certain things: Like when she was expecting, it was me who organized a baby shower and it was our huge, crazy family that welcomed her. When they got engaged, it was me & hubbs who booked the hall and paid the caterer and organized the guest list. It was our house where she dressed and and it was me who helped her into the wedding dress; it was our yard where their pictures were taken in and our patio where the gifts were opened. Them? They were … guests. And when she related her struggles just talking with her, I was the one who encouraged her to keep on trying. You see, as a daughter of a wonderful mother, not having that relationship was as incomprehensible as not having … air.
We talked a few days ago and I made it a point to tell her that, no matter what happens, we hope she stays in our lives. I tried to convince her that, despite her past experiences with them, it’s not in our hearts to trash, bash or discard her. Punctuated by her sobs were the words I’d never expected to hear, “I wish I could talk to her like I do to you.”
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
Have you ever parented someone who wasn’t “yours?”