I became a mom in a rather unconventional way-I married into it. At 21, I met and married the man of my dreams. He just happened to come with his own 17 year old daughter, and his profession didn't just include working with children, but being their foster parent. So while most of my peers were out chasing careers, I was learning how to parent teenagers while I was just coming out of that stage myself. For about ten years, we had a good many boys come and go through our home. Some were troubled kids who were caught up in a world of juvenille crime and drugs, some were kids that just needed a helping hand. Most are successful adults today, although since they spread their wings and left our temporary nest, we have rarely seen them again.
It was quite an introduction to motherhood, and many times I didn't feel like a Mom but rather like some big sister who happened to provide meals and help clean the house. I was equally as awkward with my step-daughter, not really sure how to relate to someone so close to me in age. Tara and I are probably as different as two women can get. I'm sure that at first she thought I was some lunatic out to take advantage of her Dad. What 21 year old would be interested in a 41 year old guy, after all? As the years passed though, we have grown to respect and like each other. I don't see her as the 'daughter', but rather a good friend and more like a 'sister' then anything. She has commented at times on things that she's seen me doing for her little brother-small things, like birthday parties and special treats, things that she wished that she had growing up. It's then that I find myself wishing that I had been born sooner in life, and that I had met her Dad and had been given the chance to do those things for her. It's strange, having mothering feelings for a woman who is closer in age to your peers then your daughter.
And then of course, I have the child that I gave birth to. I had never thought that I'd be the parent of an only child, I had always planned on more then that. Life just didn't work out that way though, and these days I am sure that one truly is enough. I love my son more then life itself, but I don't think I could put another child through what he has faced. It just woudn't be fair. There have been times though that I have been a little sad that I didn't have one more...one more soft, sweet smelling baby to hold and love. However, as I drove to work today, with the sun shining brightly and the waves crashing on the shore, I realized that I in fact DO have many more children. I have been very blessed to not be just Mom to my own child, but many foster kids, and my step daughter as well. Maybe I didn't get to raise them from babies, but I've had the role all the same.
The road to Motherhood can take many different paths-and all of them are special.