Two Mothers to One

by | Dec. 28, 2009

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My shock from the divorce wore off several months into my father’s second marriage. I was nine. I curled up in fetal position in my room and finally cried for the loss of my mother. I missed her cooking in the kitchen in that awful blue muumuu with the tiny red paisleys. I missed the glass candy she coated with powdered sugar during the holidays. I cried because she knew when I lied about watching Fraggle Rock without permission.

While I cried, my stepmother came in my room, uncurled me, and held me. I wailed, “I want my mommy,” as she stroked my hair and held me. I let my emotional ache evaporate like water from a damp towel in the warmth of her arms. She mothered me, while I cried for a woman who was unfaithful and unapologetic.

My stepmother cooked lima beans and made me eat them. She brought a black and white border collie. She had served a mission in Paraguay. She taught me to fold origami cranes, and gather leaves and classify them in notebooks. I forgave her the lima beans and gradually fell in love. Her strength helped her wait a long time to get married, but it also enabled her to survive the trauma of being blessed with a husband and four divorce-shaken children at the same time.

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