There are so many things in this life that we have to share. If you have siblings, you share your parents, your toys, your cars and well, basically everything. In a general sense we all share the planet with the rest of human kind. I can’t think of anyone who could say they don’t have to share. But there is one thing you never expect to share – motherhood. In the sense that you are the only mom your child has.
Since a very young age (in the kids life and in mine) I’ve shared my babies with her. The “other woman” in our life has been their step-mom. It would be a glorious thing to write we have always gotten this relationship right – we have not. Yet, 15+ years of working and trying and fighting and crying and trying some more and never giving up because loving our kids is forever our top priority, we have survived. And we are better for it. The kids are better from it. I am better. Because of her.
God has grown me so much since she and I first met. My marriage had failed and I was still a selfish child, fearfully holding on tightly to my ranks as THE mom. Oh, praise the Lord, y’all, for the grace this woman has shown me! The closer I have gotten to God, the more I have realized the beauty and blessings that can completely come in our brokenness. No, divorce is not the plan God has for us. Yet, finding myself in the aftermath, I learned turning over a wrecked life to surrendered obedience in Jesus…. healing comes. Messages from our messes and witness from our worst days, right? When I stopped looking around at what I could hold tightly to and opened my hands saying to the Lord – “this is yours, use it”, I became so keenly aware of what we actually had been blessed with.
There has never been a time I was alone in those most fearful moments of mothering. Belinda was always there, loving OUR kids as much as any mom would. When I need to brag on the kids, hers is usually the first phone to ring. When prayers are lifted, so many times it is her hand I am holding. Through bruises and breaks, boyfriends and proms, hospital stays and scary surgeries, band concerts and homecomings, graduations and like this weekend at Clarke’s sorority parent weekend at college… She has walked the journey every step by my side.
Tonight as I watched her sweet soul cry tears over being honored in the Mother’s Pinning ritual, I was newly touched by what she has given us. My children are her children. No questions asked – no love withheld. They are hers and she is theirs. And she is mine too….My friend.
This is normal for us. 15+ years, we have done it together. All four of us really – two moms and two dads. Just this evening my husband made a comment referring to another young woman, “Oh, she only has two parents.” It was said so casually, but struck me as totally appropriate for our lives. He meant a reference to how many seats to save, yet their was an air of sadness brought to my mind. Kinda like “poor child, she ONLY has two.” Of course, it truly is all what you think and how blessed you choose to see yourselves. Co-parenting/blended-parenting (whatever you want to call it) isn’t always rose gardens, but neither is parenting with your spouse. Four brains are better than two, right?!
And ultimately the simple fact is this: God calls us to love one another, as he loved us, we love each other. People will know we are His disciples by how we love one another. [John 13:34-35] And really there is no part of this command that says… Unless you find yourself in a blended family, then you are off the hook. The command is pretty clear -Love, like Jesus, so people can know Jesus. No better place to start than at home.
I am not saying every situation allows itself to work like ours. Some wounds are just too deep or abuse has been involved or continues. I am simply saying what has worked for us, what lessons I have learned and how God has changed my heart. My prayer is the same for you in your situation, be it like ours or totally different. God’s hand is on you and His word is always true, His promises never returning void.
In my life, in my family’s life, I thank God for this other woman… She has been a rock, a strong fiber in our family fabric and simply a blessing greater than words. So, here’s to our version of normal and all the wonderful parenting we have yet to do.
In His Grip, Ashlee