Ever since I was little, I've meditated on this in my own demented way. I've felt sorry for these women who married into lavish lifestyles with new stepdaughters who could grab any young prince's eye, sing like a nightingale, and cook, clean and care for seven messy men. All the while, they are to fall madly in love with these new daughters and make sure their homes are run smoothly by the cleaning maids, which as we all know typically ends up being those stepdaughters with whom they were to have fallen madly in love.
I know the following is a hard subject to approach, but I fight to be as real as can be in this venue...
I have friends who have fallen affectionately in love with their adoptive children from the moment they saw them.
I have friends who have told me that love sometimes looks like daily showing up for that child they have sought after, prayed for, and longed for more than life itself.
There have been seasons with my own boys that love has been a fight for joy, and there have been seasons where the delight has overflowed.
Perhaps these sound like statements of horror, but I'm not Jesus, though I'm being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory. Right now, I'm a redeemed sinner, who by nature still strives to seek my own comfort, more than less.
Confession #2: There are a lot of moments I feel like my friend the Evil Stepmother. No, my children in no way embody the blissful beauty of our favorite Disney princesses. But you see, all these gals had another thing in common. Their circumstances made them long for what life once was, and for the hope of what it could return to being.
My presence is a daily reminder that life is and never will be what two of my children once knew. The traditions will never be the same, the hugs never the same, the feel, the smell, the smile, the kiss - all a reminder that I'm the interim mommy.
Sometimes, the Evil Stepmom rears her head. If I've taken enough punches (which doesn't take too many), my nature dreams of carnal solutions. Every now and then, if I'm really daring, I'll share struggles with my friends, who are faithful to fight and pray with me. But you know what the most common comment is: Catie, I don't know how you do it. You have every right to feel that way.
In those moments where I claim my rights and believe they owe me credit, am I really bearing all things, enduring all things, hoping all things?
Or, am I clinging to comfort?
Big Sis R's greatest dream at this point is to go to college. She wants to be a teacher. If God fulfills this dream in her life, she will be the first person ever in her family to go to college. She will be the first to earn a degree-seeking career. That's what fills her thoughts, conversations, and imagination.
And me? I become irritated stand-in mom at another load of laundry, another hungry tummy, another time I'm told I'm not real mom.
His dreams are so much bigger for me, for her.
So I look into their eyes and say that I will bear all discomforts, believe all things for them, hope in a redeeming future, and always show up for one more day.
And for one more day, a little more of Evil Stepmother dies, and her Savior breaks through.