Who’s my mother?

For many of us, “who’s my mother” is a pretty straight forward answer. We look too much like our parents to deny that we biologically belong to them.

I am in a unique situation, where I am a step-parent to “my” two kids. Their mom passed away after a very brief illness when they were 13 and 16. We don’t look anything alike. Yet, we call ourselves family. I chose to marry their dad (because he asked), and that way got the “package deal” of an instant family.

Right from the start of my relationship with the kids, I made it clear that I was unable to replace their mom. That was not my job. It was my desire to be a “mother figure” to them and to be a friend, someone they could count on. Someone who would love them like a mother would. I love them as if I had given birth to them myself.

I’ve watched them struggle, triumph, laugh and cry. It’s been my privilege to walk with them through the various phases of their lives. I burst with pride watching their accomplishments and weep with and for them when life causes pain.

My connection to these two is much stronger than being married to their dad. They are my family. They are my kids. They are my inspiration and comfort. Together we celebrate old traditions, and create new ones. We learn from one another and forgive and love each other.

Just because we are not related by blood doesn’t make that connection any less significant or bonding. In some ways, it makes it stronger. I chose to be part of their lives knowing we’d all have to learn to live together. I’d never been a wife or a mother, and they’d never had a step-mom. It was new to all of us. No one had the advantage. Well, maybe they did … they knew how to be kids!

My parents were “Mom and Dad” to many young people who for a variety of reasons, were away from home, living in Winnipeg and in need of a place to call home. I was taught by example that it didn’t need to be biological connection in order to be family.

I am thankful that I have had wonderful role models in my mom, aunts, women at church, friends. These women have taught me by their example and love what it means to be a mother, a mom and a friend. It’s not about who makes the best borscht or being able to quilt. It’s about love and showing God’s goodness and grace in everyday living.

Lil Goertzen

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