My medical record will forever read G0P0. I never managed to get pregnant during the “trying” time frame. Fortunately, I was a mother figure during that time to 3 stepkids, something I deeply enjoyed. And, I poured every ounce of my (sometimes challenged) mothering ability into. That time in my life represents an honor and a role to which I still lay a fierce claim even though they, and I, have all moved on to other phases of life.
So, when that marriage ended, I felt that my mothering opportunity did as well. I worked hard to make peace with G0P0 and struggled to retain some relationship with my stepchildren. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I would someday be the cool aunt, the nifty neighbor “mom” figure, etc. While mothering takes its primary form by birth, it can often take its truest form when there is no blood bond at all.
And then along came Little Man. He was 7 when his dad and I started dating. On my side, I had reluctant moments early in both relationships – I feared getting attached to this sweet, smart little dude and losing him if the adult relationship did not work. But, at some point, I realized that even if his father and I did not make it, he deserved my best mothering attempts. He deserved hugs, a warm word, help with homework, the chance to eat cookie dough and make messes in the kitchen, to learn about my family, to take trips, and to be a kid with another adult in his life. An adult who wanted him to be healthy and strong. To expand his horizons and know that good people exist and can help him learn and grow as long as he works at it for himself, too.
And I guess I did all right because now I am an official Mother of One. I adopted that Little Man in August with tears and cheers. And I look forward to living out this mothering role with him, and his dad, as my companions. He may not be of me, but he is most certainly mine.