The kiddos are back after a long two week visit with their dad in Arizona. They all participated in the annual Pat Tillman 5K Fun Run, and they all finished with impressive results. They all came home tanned, freckled, and bigger. But they still remember me, and I think they're still fond of me as Mom.
So, life is back in full swing. Food is flying out of the cupboards, fridge, and freezer. The washer and dryer are running every day, and the dishwasher sometimes twice. The towels are piling up, there is a mountain of shoes by the door, and my favorite sign of family life: there are books everywhere. Someone is always playing piano, boys on rip-sticks keep whizzing by the window, and Conor has someone besides me to play with. Life is full. Life is good.
Becoming a stepmother has been a very difficult transition. I could probably write an entire book about the truth of step-parenthood. It isn't pretty, folks, and sometimes it has little to do with the actual step-children. But I've gained confidence somewhere along the way.
This is my home. I am a dedicated mother. I work tirelessly hard. And I think I'm really, really good at what I do here. Not perfect. Not by a long shot. But I'm proud of who I am as a mother, and I believe I am a blessing in the lives of the children who come into this home, whether I grew them in my womb or not. I am not going to demean myself to myself any longer. I will stand up a little straighter and act with more motherly grace and claim this calling, for that's what I believe that it is. I think I am a really fantastic combination of strict enough and fun enough. I believe that I deserve the respect that my children have for me. And I will continue to earn it.
I am much stronger than I realized before. I can do hard things. I can forgive the unforgivable. I can keep improving (thank goodness!) and evolving. I can get up even after being crushed down. I am a good woman, and I am worthy. I think I'm doing okay after all, and I think the best is yet to come.