Bam. Oooff. Smack. Completely sucker-punched. Feeling woozy. Wind knocked out of me. Completely nauseous. Black spots. Holding back tears. Tears spilling over.
Ever felt that way? C’mon, I know you have. Maybe it was that day you found out you didn’t get the job, or when you found out your marriage was over, or you had the health scare, or when you found out you owe $13,000 in taxes. Or, maybe like me, it was when someone alluded that your kids had a different mother. It went like this:
“Hi, I’m here to pick up the race packet for my family.”
“Oh, we don’t have it. Their mom was just here.”
“Their mom already got it.”
“Umm, nope, I’m their mom.”
“No, their mother was just here and we gave her everything.”
Silence. I was frozen for a minute and then I meekly said, “Oh. Okay. I guess I’ll just pick up mine then.”
Holding my head down low, I walked as quickly as I could without panicking to my car where I completely lost it. I screamed. I shouted. I behaved badly. I cried. I boxed. Then I picked myself back up, told my ego to take a chill pill, and made some important realizations:
Mom is just a name….like Julie or Matilda or Nana or Joyce or whoever.
It’s the connection behind the name that really matters. And, that connection between me and the three is crazy strong.
Other people can guide and love this band of ragtag kids.
People draw love from different places, and one love doesn’t diminish the other. They are blessed to have someone in their father’s life who cares not just about them, but about me as well.
It doesn’t matter what other people think or say.
At times, I put far too much emphasis on what other people think or say. Just because they didn’t think I was their mom, doesn’t diminish my role or the connection with my kids. It just means they made a mistake. It’s not the end of the world, though, right?
These are not “my” kids.
They are not possessions or consolation prizes. These kiddos don’t “belong” to me like a trinket or a car. Yes, I conceived them, gave birth to them, and have nurtured them through thick and thin, but they are not “mine.” They belong to themselves and to God. I have been given the ultimate privilege to guide and raise them into amazing, out-of-the-box thinkers, doers and be-ers. (Disclaimer … I still will call them “my” kids, though. It is so much easier than explaining why they aren’t “mine.”)
There is only one me.
People will enter their lives. Some will love them, some will like them; some will just tolerate them. None of those people can ever replace me.
So, there you go. I would love to wrap this little post up with a nice bow, but no, that’s not going to happen. My identity is tied so tightly to my children. When I am not acknowledged as the mom, I feel invisible. It will always sting a bit to know that another woman may step in as a parental figure. (Who I am kidding? It doesn’t sting; it bites.) With that said, one of the greatest gifts I can offer these three goofy, loving, quirky and compassionate kids is the ability to accept love and guidance from others. The way to give the gift is to let go of ego so I can hold that belief in my heart and show it through my soul.
I’d love to hear your thoughts; please share them in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation… ~Julie