The handwritten note that fell out of the envelope surprised me. My stepson didn’t mention he sent a note with my Mother’s day gift. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read words that took me back in time. I began to reminisce about a very rocky season that I wasn’t sure I would get through.
It was 2004. My stepson was 14 years old and had just lost his mom from a difficult battle with cancer. He had been living with her and his stepdad over 300 miles away. My husband naturally assumed he would bring his son home to live with us following the funeral. But my stepson and his stepdad had different ideas.
The custody papers presented to my husband by the sheriff’s department came as a complete surprise. His son’s stepdad had applied for custody. It made no sense. We were prepared and willing to take him into our home.
The battle began with a preliminary custody hearing that included my stepson on the witness stand. We were in another room, but our attorney outlined the setting to us. I had been presented as the evil stepmother. Despite my efforts to be a caring stepmom who tried to fulfill a maternal role when my stepson was in our home, I was painted as someone quite different. The hurt I experienced that day took a long time to work through.
That’s in the past now. My stepson did eventually come live with us and in time, with God’s help, we mended our ways. We worked to rebuild a relationship that included a steady flow of grace and forgiveness. Slowly, he began to let me into his life. I never wanted to replace his Mom. I simply tried to play a maternal role to a boy who didn’t have a mom.
That was 13 years ago. At 27 years old, my stepson now lives out of state.
I’ve often wondered if my tireless efforts as his stepmom even mattered.
The letter I received this year on Mother’s Day told me they did.
Although my stepson never called me Mom, the letter started with:
“MOM!! Happy Mother’s Day!! I wanted to take time and express my
appreciation to you as my mother!! You have been there through
everything. My first love, my first heartbreak, high school and college.
You’ve literally been there for it all. Thank you. For giving me advice
and good examples over the years. Even though I know I pushed back
for many years, I now realize I had a great MOM all along. Thank you
for always being there for me. Love you, Gayla. Your son.”
If you need some hope and encouragement on your stepmom journey, please consider joining us at our upcoming Sisterhood of Stepmoms retreat. You’ll find all the details here: http://sisterhoodofstepmoms.com/dallas-texas-2017/
Will you share some highs or lows of your stepparenting journey?
How are you celebrating them?