It used to be easy (and cheap) to buy Mother’s Day Cards. It was just my mother ..one card (two if I bought one from the kids to send to her) now, we have disjointed extended families. The littles of course want to send one to their mom, and other grandmothers and to the amazing foster mom and the oldest grandson asked for one for his step-mom. I used to get internally bitchy about sending cards out to all these women….why should I send them to people who aren’t in their lives? They aren’t the ones wiping tears and working on book reports. I’m the one up all night sweating over the glue gun to make President Taft’s head stay on his styrofoam body. Then I changed my thinking and looked at the positives they added to my little’s lives.
I know my stepdaughter, the bio-mom has made some HUGE mistakes, but she is still their mother. She has been calling once a week for the last few months, she tries to remember activities, and to encourage them to do well in school. She speaks well of the bio dads and extended family members. In reality, she will never be the mother they dream about, or see in movies, but she is there as the dream and she is making an effort to stay in their lives. The kids need to have the dream. They have started to forget all the bad days, they know they are with us forever, but they still want to know that she is out there and loves them and they love her.
Both of the paternal grandmothers stay caught up on the kids lives. They enjoy visits with them when they visit with the Dads, send birthday cards and checks at Christmas, they both have many grandchildren. One keeps up regularly on Facebook, commenting on pictures and activities, the other sends old fashioned letters and cards. They have also shaped the children in good and positive ways.
The step-moms are both lovely women. I get along with one easier than the other, because she has a wicked sense of humor and she is pretty down to earth. Although they have only known the children for a couple years, they both have spent weekends and vacations with them. They enable the kids to be part of the fathers’ worlds so they also need to be thanked.
The foster mom gave up ten months of her life to help “housebreak” my wild children . Ok, they weren’t wild, but she got them fresh from the drama and all full of PTSD and ADHD, she got them into counseling and adjusted the medications to help them sleep and focus in school. She was their lifesaver when no one else could help them. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for the love and patience she showed to the kids and to the system while we worked together to get them up here to MD .
So, this morning we had a card signing assembly line. One mom, two Nanas, another Grandmother, the foster mom and one step mom. .. little notes were written with x’s and o’s and the kids signed their full names.. just in case someone forgot. I will rush out after work to send them out, so they can get there in time, with pictures enclosed for the ones not on Facebook.
I was talking with a few other kinshippers/foster parents about the downfall of these “Holidays” they are made up and sold such a HUGELY commercial level, its impossible to ignore. There isn’t a day for them to just focus on who they live with right now. I can’t be angry at the kids wanting to send cards to all the people who have mothered them over the years, its good for them to think about all those people in the world who love them. Kids in non-traditional households have so many problems fitting in, getting to take part in this Hallmark holiday is one gift I can give them. I let them make the arts and crafts in school to send to the Mom. I let them trace hands and paste xeroxed poems to construction paper hearts. For a little bit they can feel like the other kids in the class and they don’t have to explain where they live and who they live with. They know I’m cool with it and won’t have my feelings hurt.
My blessing out of all of this? For the fourth straight year, I will get surrounded in my bed by a gaggle of children, grinning from ear to ear with runny scrambled eggs and flowers picked from the garden. They may forget to wash their gym uniforms, leave homework at school and somehow miss the laundry hamper when they toss dirty underwear in the general direction, but they are, for better or for worse, my people, big and little.