(Click the Play button to listen to this post, which includes a special Mother’s Day message.)
It’s been eleven months of marital bliss for Lauren and me. We continue to enjoy this incredible journey that GOD has given us, learning how to be a team as husband and wife, and even more importantly, how to be Daddy and Mommy to our children.
And they are OUR children.
They’re not my kids. Lauren doesn’t call them my kids (well, unless they misbehave. Then she says they’re mine). She also doesn’t think of them as stepchildren, and our kids don’t think of her as their stepmother.
They call her Mommy. Because that’s who she is. Because that’s her title, that’s her role, that’s her name.
This was important to us when we were engaged. We knew that once we decided to become one family, we would have to eliminate these distinctions that would only divide us. I didn’t want Lauren to be on the outside looking in. I didn’t want her to feel like we were two separate families, or that she was encroaching on our turf. We had to become one. I had to support Lauren when she set rules and boundaries for the kids, when she disciplined them, when she told them, “No.” I had to have her back so that we could be a team. While it is true that she stepped into the kids’ lives, she didn’t become their stepmother.
Now I know that from a purely technical point of view, that is how the world defines her. A stepmother is someone who marries into a family with children who are not her natural offspring. That’s the definition. But that’s not how we see Lauren, and that’s not how she sees herself.
Maybe we shun the “stepmother” label because it immediately conjures up images of the “evil stepmother” from Cinderella, of a woman who does not love children to whom she did not give birth. That could not be farther from the truth in Lauren’s case. She loves our kids unconditionally. It’s what attracted me to her (in addition to being drop-dead gorgeous, of course). Whenever people ask about our story, I tell them that once I saw how she treated the kids, I knew I was going to marry her. People who aren’t familiar with us or our situation would never know that she had not given birth to them. That’s how beautiful her love is for them.
“They call her Mommy. Because that’s who she is.”
I used to take Mother’s Day for granted, but never again. After being a single parent for 3 years, I will always be grateful to GOD for sending Lauren into my life, to be my best friend and cheerleader, and the mother our children need.
If you listen to the audio track at the top of the page, you can hear a special message the kids recorded for Mommy on Mother’s Day.