Am I the other mother? Or is she? I breathe deeply, freely – knowing this question is not one I need answered.
I’m not the same woman I once was. I wasn’t going to share my children with another mother, ever. Not through divorce. Not through open adoption. I wasn’t passive or undecided on this. I was dead set on never co-parenting. I saw what a struggle it was for those who were doing it and determined it wasn’t for me.
But my unofficial foster daughter blurred these lines. The girl who chose her unstable bio mom over me. She taught me the heart wants what it wants. And a child’s heart will always long for the heart it was knit next to, regardless of circumstances. It’s God glue, that attachment. Even when it’s not nurtured into a bond, it still exists.
Licensed foster care blurred the lines further. I fell in love with the woman my girls knew as Mommy. With her, as a person. With her God design. I fought for her to keep her role more than she did. And when she willingly gave it up legally, I assured her she would always be known as Mommy in our home. That’s a name I ask my daughters not to call me because it belongs to her. I am Mama. She is Mommy.
Now I am raising a fiercely loyal 8 year old who needs a Mama who will let her love her Mommy wholeheartedly. I am in awe to say that is me, because of Jesus. He washed over me with trying circumstances. Softened my hard edges. Like a river rock. I hardly recognize myself.
She was asked to draw a family portrait in therapy this week. She drew her Mommy. I pointed out how she shares her Mommy’s same hair color. Then offered to hang her paper heart on our fridge.
She cried out for her Mommy once this week. I offered to call her. When she declined, I asked her what she was missing most. She remembered being read bedtime stories. So we read one. Then I rubbed her back until she fell asleep.
She put “I love you” on repeat during their phone call this week. The one she insisted be on speaker phone, so I could hear it. The one she ended swiftly after just a few short minutes. The one she didn’t even want to make before yesterday.
And something sweet became clear. We are not competing in my daughter’s eyes, either. Her Mommy and I coexist in her the same way we coexist in me. She NEEDS me to honor her history. The one I did not share with her. And she NEEDS me to be her future. The promise of a lifetime of presence. That is why, as many times as we have returned to her Mommy this week, I can honestly say she has not rejected me as her Mama. God prepared us for one another, in this way. And He began a long time ago. He knew it would always be her&me.