When you dream about becoming a mother, you plan a registry. You go to Pinterest and pin all sorts of nursery photos. You write a birth plan. You prepare as best you can for many different outcomes for your labor and delivery. You buy tiny diapers that look like they'd only fit a babydoll. You wonder if you need warmers or pacifiers or swaddle blankets or whether you want a bucket seat or an all in one to start...You dream about the day you'll have your newborn baby in your arms for the very first time. And when you do, your heart explodes with a force of love you never thought possible. A love that no amount of preparation ever truly prepares you for. You're a MOTHER. The role of a lifetime. Recognized by Hallmark cards every year, revered in scripture and history books, praised and lauded by generation after generation.
When you become a stepmother, love works in a different direction. It is one that grows quietly through trust and time.
When you become a stepmom, you are introduced to children birthed by another woman who already loves them very much. Your love starts like a seed, planted in a garden you're not too sure how to tend at first. But you try hard to water it the best you can. The best you know how. You take the love you're starting to grow and nurture it carefully and respectfully. You watch this little bud shoot up out of rocky soil, transplanted into your garden perhaps against the general direction of what this seed started out with, but it grows nonetheless...and it starts to flourish under your care. The pride you feel as you watch it blossom is unparalleled.
When you're a stepmom, you love with a love that is just as fierce and protective as a biological mother's love. But you also love with a love that acknowledges when it needs to be a supporting character on stage, and when it needs to step into the wings and cheer from the sidelines. A stepmother's love is often a love from the shadows. Waiting for the moments when you're needed, and playing each part- no matter how small- with the enthusiasm and gusto generally reserved for a leading role. You're not always seen. But you're there.
The small moments build over time. Your helping hands, not afraid to get dirty...your love for their father that they watch with curious, learning eyes...your careful inventory of their items so nothing gets misplaced between homes...your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without crusts and baby carrots cut smaller into fourths, and ice cream sundae bars with a dozen options for toppings and whipped cream that you happily spray into giggling mouths...your pitches of baseballs that aren't quite right but still make contact with their eager bats, and slowed steps towards homeplate so they make a homerun...your shared love of nature as you splash around in creeks and hunt for small critters to scoop up and show off to dad...your fishing trips where you hand over your pole with the big bites so they can reel in the good ones...each brick is laid to make the sturdy foundation of the love you pour into your children.
Sometimes I've let fear take hold of my heart with the "what ifs". Sometimes love hurts, like today, as I said goodbye after a long summer break with all four of our children together and felt my heart shatter into a million pieces as the truck pulled out of the driveway and left an empty house for this stepmama to cry in, all alone.
I have two biological children and two stepchildren. I am a proud mother of four. I never expected this life as a little girl so long ago, envisioning a future with the stereotypical white picket fence. But my gosh am I lucky to have so much to love, and so much to miss...and so very much to always look forward to.
AluraWayne Photography specializes in rich, bold, timeless maternity, birth, newborn and family photography in Nashville, TN and surrounding areas (Brentwood | Nolensville | Smyrna | Murfreesboro | Franklin | and beyond).
To inquire about planning your own session, please look at our options for our popular Birth Experience which includes a combination of maternity, birth, and newborn packages. For individual session details, please consider our maternity, newborn, or family sessions.
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