As this lovely Mother’s Day weekend comes to a close, I feel drawn to compose a final few words. So many brave and lovely, wonderful things have been shared this weekend, privately and publicly, and I want to say these final two things. The first is this: that blended families can work, and work well. They can be beautiful. All families–loving relationships of all kinds–take hard work to flourish. You start with love, yes, and you end there–always. But it also takes the work of listening, laughing, talking, forgiving (over and over again–and that includes forgiving oneself), allowing space and room to breathe, insisting on firm and mutual respect. We all have our families of origin and families of choice, our bloodlines and our lovelines. It is difficult to love. But how wonderful to make the choice to do it. Over and over again.
Until four years ago, I had made the conscious and deliberate choice through my adult life not to have children of my own. It wasn’t a need in my life. It’s so okay not to have children–that’s the second thing I wanted to say. As I’ve aged, I’ve not regretted the choice (as some suggested through the years I would); it was the right one for me. I have had no need in my life for my own biological children–no desire. It’s so totally okay; it was for me, and it is for others who make that choice.
When I did happen to meet a guy who happened to have a passel of kids, it was the right thing, a blessed thing, a cherished thing for us to enter into a lifetime partnership. I made the choice then to become not just a life partner, but a co-parent to his children, now our children. I’m a stepmother and love my children fiercely, wildly, completely. It’s an honor to be part of their lives.
Parenting is difficult work. Loving anyone is difficult work–even being loved is difficult work. I’m thankful for the family I came from, every day. I’m thankful for the family I’m a part of now, every day. I’m thankful for the years I had as a single, independent woman. I’m thankful for the life I have now. It’s all relative. We live, we love: who we are, who we’re with. We keep our eyes open. We cherish. We forgive. We respect. We receive. Oh, my, what we receive.