Bound By Something Greater
To my "Other" Mom,
First, I love you. I spent a lot of time as kid defending the fact that you were my real mom too. The best way, it seemed, to do that, was to insist that my relationship with you was exactly the same as my relationship with mom. Obviously that wasn't true. Mom made the cookies for my class, came to all the parent-teacher conferences and made sure I always had food and a plan for whatever practice, lesson, or playdate I had that day. She was the one all my friends knew as my mom. When you came on field trips or to do science projects with my class, I introduced you as my mom, but I called you by your first name, and a lot of them hadn't seen you before. So you eventually became the other mom. And you stayed that way in most of my friends' eyes, and, maybe, on the bad days, even in your own.
That's not fair though. Not to you or to me. You didn't carry me for nine months, but you went out to get the chocolate malts every night while mom was pregnant. Sometimes it feels like you're the odd man out. Mom and I love grocery shopping and playing the word puzzles in the newspaper while you couldn't be happier to sit those things out - but without you, we would've torn each other to shreds long ago. If she's my consistency and my caregiver, you're my enthusiasm, my cheerleader, my fearlessness. You and I aren't just like me and her. She and I are bound by blood and by a striking (and sometimes unfortunate) similarity of temperament. You and I are bound by something greater. By a love that didn't have to be. By the pieces of me that come from you - not by way of your genes by by way of your careful, patient, incredible shaping of me over the last 25 years into the person I am.
So it isn't fair to compare my relationships with you two, not because you fare poorly in the comparison, but because even without being the 'primary caregiver' you raised me. You couldn't adopt me or marry her, but despite (or maybe because of) those things, it was you who taught me how to love and how to forgive unconditionally. It was you who taught me what it meant to be family.
With more love and thanks than I have the words to express,