Friday, October 3, 2014

step-mothering and sacrifice: a post I wasn't expecting so soon.

Is it any wonder that birth requires unspeakable pain? It's meant to be. It's inevitable. Some die from the experience, and yet we do it. We look at new life and think, I want that, no matter the cost.

Don't kid yourself. Step-mothering requires it's own special kind of birthing pains. You carry a child in your heart who will fall her loyalty elsewhere. No matter how many times her mother calls her fat. It doesn't matter that you would never do that. She will love that woman. She will prefer that woman. That woman will snake herself in and make sure the child knows veto power, manipulative gestures that undermine love. I'm not sure what you've been told, but love isn't enough. Not when it comes to being a stepmother.

You must choose grace and silence, even when your tongue is bleeding from the chew. You must choose a humble bow when your character is thwarted. You must open your gates to the one who will seed her bitterness into your living room. When the little one, for whom you would die, cuts your heart with the betrayal of her birthright, you must remember: this is all acceptable. You did not become a stepmother to make yourself a replacement. You are, instead, a renewal and a support.

She may never love me like I love her. I took her on not because she is my own, but because I vowed to love her like she is. This means I don't tear down her character, even though I know now that she is hearing, on the off-weeks, how to tear down mine. This means I don't twist her words, though she is learning by wrote to twist mine. This means I will stand firmly with my husband, rattle the gates with him, until she hears the truth, sees who she is, stands on her own. No matter how many times I die in the process. Because none of this, none of this, is her fault.

Dear daughter, 
May you one day recognize that we don't tear you down
or tell you to diet
or remove your loyalty by force
or take advantage of your good heart
or get jealous of your loveliness.
We love you.

Enough with the counterfeit. Take our hands, darling. Let's fly through the debris together.