Children are so amazing! They like to please, are so quick to forgive and love to love! This is why it is especially devastating when children are put in a situation where they don’t feel like they are allowed to love. So many divorces are so ugly that no matter how hard the parents try to shield their children from the ugliness it just seeps and pours into their little minds. They want nothing more than to love both of their parents, and siblings. Too often one parent will talk poorly about their former spouse in front of their child. Sometimes it is done by accident and other times it can be done in spite. This is extremely hurtful and damaging and can even turn siblings against each other. I once had a friend in middle school who was adamant that in her home she could only share a cup with her half-sister but never with her step-sister. Of course it wasn’t until over a decade later that I could begin to understand her point of view. I grew up with TONS of siblings. I can’t even imagine how horrible it would be to not be allowed to love them. Despite all their craziness, the love and support they are to my family now is priceless.
Some parents are able to put their children above everything and facilitate love in every relationship in their child’s family. I have a friend who had two small children and had gone through divorce right before the holiday season. I was so impressed to find a Christmas photo that she had taken with her children and former spouse. How difficult that must have been and how amazing that this beautiful young mother was so selfless that she valued her children having “their” family photo above her own devastation. If you can’t tell, I am still absolutely floored by her, in my book, heroism! There is no way I could have managed that so soon after my divorce.
So often, children are forced to choose between their parents. Many times they are strongly discouraged or even forbidden from loving their Bonus Parents as well. “Don’t you dare call him Daddy” or “We don’t call him that in this house.” Was I going to turn into one of those people who said these things to their children? So I spend some time to ponder this situation. How would I feel if my little angel, whom I love so much it hurts, started calling another woman: “Mommy.” Just the thought of it stings. But what would hurt me more is to have her come home devastated and in tears at how horrible her step-mother is. I would much rather take the sting any day and have her develop a relationship healthy enough to call someone else mommy. That someone is there to watch out for her, to love her and protect her when I cannot be there to nurture her. She could never truly replace me as her mother, but she can be the next best thing… a Bonus Mommy!
Children are truly so amazing! They can see past your faults and genuinely and unconditionally love you anyway! They don’t care what your relations are, if you allow them to love…. They will!