The word Mom, in its classical definition, and for the most part, has positive connotation. Birth begets Motherhood; newness makes a mom exist as such. Mom is universal; we all have one. No matter the relationship, healthy or hard, present or past or carried in a heartbeat, our mothers are there. We cannot deny them, even if we want to. If that denial becomes necessary, it requires great healing. Mom is undeniable, it's a word that super-glues it's captors. Genetics demand this connection.
For many, this is a day of celebration. Those who've given birth and those by whom another woman's birthing have recieved a child, everyone called MOM, are held aloft, and they should be! Such great work, tremendous love, and sacrifice are the stuff of their lives. For this, we honor and thank you.
For those who miss their mothers, and those who've missed out on being one, this can be a sad day if the pain is still too much. For those who've never known their mothers, or have known only abuse from their mothers, this day can widen the rift or remind of it. But even when distance and circumstance seperate us from them, they are still our mothers, and we are still partly them, here because of them, alive because they carried us. It's unbreakable.
Because these things are true, I have, as a new Step Mom, had my qualms about this day's arrival. As if there's something in the title, and the celebration, that I have no right to mention. By birth right, name, and classic definition, this day is not for me.
Since the beginning of these little Steps, I've been quite insistent that she can choose me when she wants me; that I'll be here for her, take care of her, and love her without condition or restraint, but I won't ever force her to make me feel good about my role. She didn't ask for my arrival, and I want to remain sensitive to that. To be clear, she loves me and I love her and we have a healthy, fun, honest thing going. But we started from scratch on that. Some days, when her questions get big and I'm not ready for them, we start from scratch all over.
Unlike Motherhood, which is born, Step-Mothering is made. There's nothing intrinsic that holds us together. We don't look alike, share blood, retain a subconscious sense of belonging. And in my case, her birth-mom is very involved and present. So where does this leave me? My heart pumps like she is mine, and I live as if she is. Most of the time, that chosen atmosphere is strong enough.
Some time ago, I was thinking on the word Step Mom. How is this word defined? My first thoughts went to Cinderella. We know her step mother well. This version's definition? Evil. I thought next of the well-known movie about a Step Mom, of the same name. This version's definition (at least initially)? Turmoil. Distrust. Difficulty. Anywhere my mind went, I ran into negative connotation. At first, I was saddened by these thoughts. And then, it hit me.
Her definition of the word won't come from a movie or a book. It'll come from me.
And maybe that's the thing that I've stuck to as I prep my heart for today, whatever comes. I am the only person who can truly show her what it means to be a Step Mom. I am the only Step Mom she's got, and dammit, I'm a good one. My actions come from love even when things in her world tell her I'll act otherwise. I'm not a classical definition, but I'm me and I am a part of her life, and I get to show her what that means.
To some, I might be a Step, but to me, I'm a mom. Happy Mother's day, then. Happy Mother's day to me.