Every year that passes since becoming a mom I realize how important it is for a child to have a mother figure in their lives. I also have come to appreciate even more so, the incredible strength and courage it must have taken for my “second” mom to join our family.
I have heard countless times over the last twenty five years the wonderful stories about my “first” mom. With each accomplishment or hurdle I’ve overcome I have been encouraged by those who knew her, lovingly telling me that she would have been proud. With the birth of each of my boys I knew that she would have loved to have been there to hold them and love on them. I know that had she lived, she would have continued to be the loving mother that God created her to be. I know that she would have continued to teach me how to live a life for Christ. All of this I am certain of. I have never taken for granted the conversations and comments from those who knew her. I appreciate the words of affirmation that she would have been proud of who I am today.
Now, with that being said, I didn’t become who I am today with my “first” mom by my side. I’m not implying that I’m some high and mighty wonder woman but when I think of those comments it makes me realize that my “second” mom was who my “first” mom would have picked out, had she been given the choice. No one dreams of having their mom suddenly killed. I can’t imagine a situation where a ten year old would be able to hand pick a woman to replace the most important human role in a young girls life. We don’t live in a Mary Poppins fairy tale where some lady comes flying down from the sky holding an umbrella and each item on the “wish list” is checked off. In fact, most step moms are said to fly in on their broom sticks like the wicked witch of the west.
Without a doubt I have to say that the bravest woman that I know is my mom, from this point on the mom I refer to is “mom # 2”. Imagine taking on the role of a mother to two kids, one in their teens and one not far behind. To enter into the instant role of “mom” to kids, who less than a year before lost the only mom they ever knew. Stepping into the shoes of a woman who was so loving and well loved by all who met her. This would be enough to make me run in the opposite direction and say “thanks, but NO thanks!”. Imagine packing up your life in the city you grew up in, established your life in and move eight hours away where you didn’t know anyone. I guess in a SMALL sense I did the same thing by moving from Canada to the good ol’ US of A but I didn’t have to step into anyone else’s shoes once I got here.
Being a mother is no easy task. Stepping into that role once there was already a solid mother figure in place has to be one of the hardest thing for any woman to do. My mom though, she did it. She joined our family and didn’t run away. She uprooted her life to keep ours as stable as it could be given the circumstances. There was always a picture of my first mom up in the house. My mom never assumed the role as a “replacement” but rather came in with love and kindness during the worst time in the lives of my dad, my brother and myself. The memory of the mom we had was never taken away or pushed aside. I can only imagine that being mom#2 would come with a ton of emotional struggles from every angle. This was no easy journey to embark on, of that, I’m sure.
Who I am today, in large part is from the loving, caring and encouraging environment I grew up in. I have been blessed to have had ten years with a mom who loved me unconditionally and twenty five more with a mom who kept that love going. God takes away, this I am very much familiar with. God also gives. I don’t think I’m as strong or courageous as my mom is. It takes an extremely special woman to do what she did. She is not, and never has been a replacement. People cannot be replaced. She is simply, mom. Not the one that brought me into this world, but the one who has been by my side for the last twenty five years helping me navigate through it. With love, kindness and a heart for Christ, she has taught me how to be the best wife and mother that I can be.
This mother’s day I want to simply say thank you to the woman who heard God’s calling, and with a courageous heart, stepped up to the challenge. Without that leap of faith I know my life wouldn’t be same. I love you, mom.
God is Good. All the time.