As a little girl I fantasized about what I would be when I grew up. I planned my wedding, picked names for my children, and designed my dream home. I was so caught up in my master plan that when I was hit with a curve ball as an adult I didn’t know how to adjust.
My imperfect fairy tale began when I married my best friend and his 3 year old son four years ago. Although being a stepmother was not originally a part of my plan my ‘bonus’ son made it feel so easy; he accepted me into his life, nicknamed me Majee, and thus my parenting journey began. Though his love felt like enough, I struggled for a long time to find my place, understand my role, and accept the conflict of stepping up as a supportive figure while still falling behind the scenes when appropriate. Being a stepmom requires compromise and humility. Every other week in my home I was Majee: kissing wounds, picking out clothes, and reading bedtime stories. However, in shared spaces around his mother I would fade into the background so that I was not stepping on toes or over asserting the mommy-role. I had to fight not to love out loud. When he fell at a basketball game I couldn’t run out, hold him, and say “everything will be alright”, though I wanted to, I had to respect a space that I did not occupy. Motherhood was out on loan, a temporary role that I had to return. Despite my best efforts, immense love, and connection to my bonus son, I did not have access to all parts of motherhood.
However, everything changed drastically last May with the birth of my baby girl. Becoming a ‘real’ mom (ugh, I hate how that sounds) was just different. All at once I carried the weight of my daughter’s future, happiness, and survival in my hands. She introduced me to a whole new side of motherhood and there was an instant physiological and emotional connection after she was born. I felt affirmed and secure as a mother through her. I did not need permission to love publicly or struggle to answer questions about my relationship to her. As a mother I learned to forgive and accept my flaws. I gained the confidence as a mom to be okay with being uncomfortable as a stepmom. I also have a deeper appreciation for my son’s mother who allowed me to co-mother her son.
Majee to Mommy is a journey that exposed my insecurities and made me a stronger woman. My dream life that I had meticulously planned at 7 years old turned out to be much more complicated. The love for a child that is not biologically yours vs. the one born from you looks and feels different, but is the same unconditional love. I cannot imagine being a mother without my bonus son in my life and I am grateful for the challenges as a stepmom because it made me a better mommy.
Love you Solomon & Jordyn!!