Flashback Friday: They Call Me By My Name

This piece is a short essay I wrote in November, 2014 about my experience being a stepmother. I hope you like it. If you do, please leave me a comment and let me know you were!

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“They Call Me by My Name”

I have two sets of kids – the ones that call me “Mama” and the ones who don’t.

I do a lot of things for the first set…the ones I gave birth to. Most of all, I love them. I teach them. I listen to them. I feed them. I make them take showers. I referee their arguments. I put band-aids on their boo boos and braids in their hair. I correct their grammar. I make them use their table manners. I force them to try new foods and eat the ones they say they don’t like. I take them to the doctor and the dentist. I shop for them. I make them wear matching clothes to school, appropriate for the weather. I hang the pictures they draw for me on the refrigerator. I go to their school functions. I chaperone their field trips. I read them books, and listen to them read to me. I tell them stories from when I was little. I tease them. I tickle them. I play with them.  I lay my hand on their heads every night and pray for them. I tuck them in. I kiss them goodnight. I hold them in my lap and whisper soothing things in their ears when they have bad dreams. I scoot over when they climb into bed with me. I’m there for them every day.  I call them mine, and they call me “Mom”.

I do a lot of things for the second set, too…the ones that God gave me, not by birth, but by marriage.  Most of all, I love them. I teach them. I listen to them. I feed them. I make them take showers. I referee their arguments. I put band-aids on their boo boos and braids in their hair. I correct their grammar. I make them use their table manners. I force them to try new foods and eat the ones they say they don’t like. I take them to the doctor and the dentist. I shop for them. I make them wear matching clothes to school, appropriate for the weather. I hang the pictures they draw for me on the refrigerator. I go to their school programs. I chaperone their field trips. I read them books, and listen to them read to me. I tell them stories from when I was little. I tease them. I tickle them. I play with them. I lay my hand on their heads every night and pray for them. I tuck them in. I kiss them goodnight. I hold them in my lap and whisper soothing things in their ears when they have bad dreams. I scoot over when they climb into bed with me. I’m there for them every day. I call them mine, and they call me “Rachel”.

Life has been harder for one set than the other. They’ve lost more. In a lot of ways, they need more. The basics are the same, though, and I can give them the basics. They need a mom. They need her to be there every day. They need to know that, no matter what, she’ll be there. I may not be the one they wish was here, and I can’t be the one that gave them life. I can, however, be the one that is here.

I can be the one that puts them to bed at night, wakes them up the next morning, and takes care of them in between. I can love them without needing them to not love another. I can be constant.

So, we’ve struck an unspoken deal, my second set and I. I’ll be the mom they need, but they can call me by my name.

©2015 Rachel Holbrook

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3 Responses to Flashback Friday: They Call Me By My Name

  1. Matt says:

    The life of a stepparent is hard. I really like how you show that there is no difference in how you treat them, yet they don’t completely reciprocate like we’d like.

    Like

  2. Carico, Brenda C says:

    Rachel,
    You just don’t know how I relate to this!!! As I read this over & over I sit with tears streaming down my face!

    I believe you are the one they wish to be there & yes, you give them life!!!
    You may not have given those two precious babies “life”, but you give them a wonderful life each & everyday! Life is hard sometimes being a “stepmom”, but it is a wonderful life! Sister, we are truly giving life to our babies, both you & I.

    Matthew can share my story with you . . .maybe someday we can sit down and share our stories!

    I pray for you & I have so much respect and admiration for you Rachel. God has a special place in heaven for you!

    Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I’m so glad my essay connected with you. There should be a special club for us moms that are raising children 100% of the time that we didn’t give birth to. It’s more like being an adoptive mom than a stepmom.
      Thanks again for commenting. It really made my day.

      Like

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