Two days after my oldest daughter was born, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day by bringing her home from the hospital. I remember those early days of motherhood being a surreal mixture of joy, exhaustion, uncertainty, and excitement, and every day, there was something new to discover and learn. I quickly learned that, although I was her parent, my daughter was, and still is, one of my greatest teachers.
It took five years of infertility treatment to become a mom, and because of our infertility issues, we were told that we had less than a .5% chance of conceiving a child without medical intervention. We still had two frozen embryos to transfer, in the hopes of expanding our family, but I wasn’t confident that it would work. So, my daughter’s firsts felt like firsts, lasts, and onlys. I was so grateful and savored every moment with her, and I couldn’t imagine anything better than those special times together. I had no idea that this was only the beginning.
Six weeks after celebrating her first birthday, we also were celebrating the unexpected news that I was pregnant with our second child! I was stunned and overjoyed. I later experienced some sadness and apprehension, which caught me off-guard. I distinctly remember sitting on the floor in my daughter’s bedroom, with her in my lap, as I read to her, which was one of our favorite bedtime rituals. I was mid-way through my pregnancy, and the addition of a second child to the mix was becoming more real with each passing day.
As I held my daughter, a wave of sadness washed over me, as I thought about how I would miss times like these with just her. I wondered if I could love another child as much as I loved my oldest daughter. That thought came and went throughout the rest of my pregnancy, before it disappeared forever when I was in the delivery room and heard the doctor announce, You’ve got another girl!
The second time around, I felt more confident as a mom, but there was still a learning curve. Now, I had two teachers to help me along my motherhood journey. One of the greatest lessons that I learned from them was that my heart had more than enough love for both of them. Roughly 16 years later, five more teachers came into my life to really drive this lesson home.
It is said you don’t just marry your spouse, but rather, you marry their family, as well. Truer words have never been spoken than when you marry someone who has children. Getting remarried and blending a family is a massive undertaking and huge responsibility, and it is a decision that my husband and I did not take lightly. Thanks to all seven of our children, though, it was a decision we made happily, with their blessing.
When our relationship became serious, we began to get to know one another’s children, taking their lead on how to go about developing those relationships. As I prepared to meet his children, three who are young adults living on their own and two who are the same ages as my daughters, the familiar feelings of anticipation, nervousness, and excitement that I experienced while I was pregnant, resurfaced, along with some similar questions. Am I ready to be a step-mom? Can I be a good step-mom to all of them? Is my heart big enough to love five more kids?
I can answer those questions now, without hesitation. By the time I married their dad, I was more than ready to be their step-mom, and it is a privilege to be a part of their lives and to have them as a part of our family. Thanks to their open minds and hearts, they have each made it extremely easy and enjoyable to have a relationship with them individually and as a big family. I cannot ever thank them enough for making my daughters and me feel right at home with them.
I will defer to them to answer the question about whether I am a good step-mom, but I can say that I am committed to always doing my best to give them my best. On our wedding day, I vowed to love their dad unconditionally, and I made the same vow to the five of them. I intend to keep those vows each and every day.
The five of them did not grow under my heart as my daughters did, but they certainly grew in it and expanded it even more. So, yes, my heart is big enough to love five more kids. This is my first Mother’s Day as a step-mom and my twenty-first one overall as a mom, and I owe it all to the seven incredible children who make up our family and who make my heart truly happy and full on Mother’s Day and every day.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story