Friday, May 11, 2012

Stepping In

Step. It seems like such an odd word to describe a familial relationship.  Step-mother.  Step-daughter.  And then there's the whole Cinderella tale to give it a negative vibe.  The word brings a cold and removed feeling with it.  It is aggressive somehow, menacing, mean. 

But there is nothing cold, removed, menacing or mean about the woman who stepped into my life, stepped into that role of mother. 

There wasn't a clandestine night, with surprise consequences.  No, she went in, eyes wide open, to three children.  Three children who would later end up on her doorstep, bags in hand, broken, hurting teens in desperate need of mothering when she herself had hands full with three new babies and a husband at work on an ocean far away.  Now she was mother to six.  Six who desperately needed mothering.

I always knew that it was rough for her.  But with age comes understanding.  And with my own children came even greater understanding.  I understand why the one time she went through the effort to ready us all to leave the house together each week was to go to the house of God.  Why she clung close and desperately tight to Him.  How else can one mother?  How else can one mother six?

She stepped in.  She stepped in to countless messy hard places, broken hearts, marriage, birth, sickness.  She rejoiced with us, she cried with us, she broke with us, she loved us.  She stepped in, again and again.  She is mother now to seven.  Yet just two came from her womb.

She is a mother hen who has gathered her chicks from afar.  She mothered us.  She raised us.  She chose us.  

Step, from the Old English, steop-, with connotations of "loss," in combinations like steopcild "orphan," related to astiepan, bestiepan "to bereave, to deprive of parents or children," from Proto-Germanic, steupa- "bereft". *

I am not bereft.  I am not bereaved or deprived.  I am not, because I have a mother.  I have a mother, who stepped in... 

My mother hen, with 5 of her chicks and 2 grand-chicks.

*From the Online Etymology Dictionary

This post is part of...

1000 Moms Project

1 comment:

  1. Amazing. Beautiful and powerful for all the amazing and wonderful step moms out there!!!