My son spends half of his life under another roof with his father and a woman I did not choose. This woman rises earlier than she’d prefer to care for my son. She cooks meals for him, listens to him, plays with him, considers his preferences and needs and desires. She rides airplanes with him, holds him when he cries, advises him on making the choices that shape who he is becoming. She attends his soccer games and school events and consults on his health and the evolution of his character.
This woman is raising my child: A thought that once broke me open. Now it puts me back together.
I did not meet Taylor for a year and a half. I did not meet her until there was no other choice. She was Pete’s private girlfriend, and I was his private wife. Until we sat across from each other that April evening in the tea shop, steeping.
Slowly, deliberately, and with a great deal of honesty, respect and intention, we plodded toward a sense of community and collaboration.
This Mother’s Day, with Teddy in his other home and the day to myself, I felt a little lost. I asked myself what I wanted to do to honor myself as a mother.
The answer came back immediately: Thank Taylor.
With the answer came tears. Thank Taylor.
This woman I did not choose, who did not choose me, is the most important mother in my life. My son’s other mother.
Nearly five years into the evolution of our blended family, I trust her. I respect her. I like her. Maybe I even love her.
It occurs to me that Taylor and I could be considered a kind of arranged marriage, one step askew. Both of us married the same man, cementing us to the same tribe. We have bonded through the ego-exploding work of weaving a family from the scraps we have been given.
I chose to bring my child into the world. Taylor chose to bring him into her world.
It is choice that makes family. Not blood.