Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Step By Step

When my children are at their father's house they are mothered by his wife.  I have always been grateful for this.  She is kind.  She is nurturing.

She loves my children differently than I do.  Hers is not the love that grew from their hearts beating beneath hers, from fluttery (and not so fluttery) kicks, from 2:00am feedings, or from first smiles and first steps.  But her love is just as strong.  Her love was not at first sight.  But her love is just as unconditional.  I know this to be true because I know this kind of love.

I officially became a stepmother two years ago tomorrow.  These two sweet girls quickly claimed a piece of my heart even before I married their father. On our wedding day, I vowed to them to always keep their hearts safe, to provide them the strength of family and the security of a happy, loving home.

What has been the most powerful and most special is that I have watched the love between my step-daughters and I grow over time.  My own children loved me at first because they needed me.  My step-daughters liked me first, then they trusted me, then they loved me.  They didn't have to.  They chose to.  And I did too.

Their developmental milestones are precious stories shared in reminiscent tones. I treasure them like I do memories of my own children.  Third person.  First person.  The perspective is the only difference. They are children of my heart, though not of my womb.

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