I have been blessed with an abundance of patience and tolerance, virtues that support me for my most meaningful role in life, T-bear, AKA, stepmother. I was not surprised when I found out Marion had a daughter. He had an aura of sweetness around him that could only belong to a father. Many people asked me why I didn’t run for the hills rather than run toward an “off the bat” complicated relationship, but to me it just felt normal. Then I met Hannah, and my heart began to beat. I knew the moment I saw her little 5-year old body bounce through Marion's apartment door wearing her ponytail tucked under a baseball hat that life as I knew it would never be the same. I was in love with both of them.
|Bike ride in the park, 2004.|
However, there was another important person I met that day, Hannah’s mom, Johanna. I don’t know if I had ever seen a more beautiful woman in person; she was effortlessly striking, yet easy-going and kind. She shook my hand and exchanged quick pleasantry’s with Marion, gave Hannah a big hug and kiss then left us alone to have what would be our first night together as a family. That was nearly eleven years ago. All of these years in between have been filled with heavenly highs and blindingly crushing lows. Nevertheless, I consider the opportunity to be a parent to Hannah the greatest gift and honor in my life.
|Average Friday night, 2014.|
I have done a lot for her, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do. I have faith that she knows she can always count on me, even if I bug her, or tell her “no”, she knows T-Bear won’t let her down. By the way, T-Bear is my nickname. I think Marion takes credit for it, because I am big like a bear, ha, ha, anyway Hannah stills calls me that, even at 16, and I will always be her T-Bear.
The cool part about our story is that Johanna is one of my favorite people in the world. We respect each other and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. I believe she is an extraordinary mother, and I am humbled that she has encouraged me to make an impression in Hannah’s life. Interestingly, she and I are physically complete opposites. Johanna is a gorgeous petite Colombian, while I am a tall white girl, but we are both ripped, and could talk for days about the virtues health and fitness. Above it all we love Hannah.
|Mama and StepMama - 8th Grade Graduation, 2013.|
I know that I would not have had the courage to become a stepmother if I did not have the greatest one on the planet as my own. I have millions of magical memories sharing deep thoughts with Sally over the years. For example, she took me to my first concert. I was 12, and won tickets on a radio station, and was bursting out of my pimply skin to go, but had no volunteers to drive me. Then Sally stepped up, and offered to take me. It was one of the most hysterical nights of my life, a true “put that in your pocket for later” gem of a memory that still makes me smile. To be honest, I have had many difficult moments with Sally, too, but now that I am a stepmother I understand her point of view and am thankful to have her in my life.
|Sally and me in Loreto, Mexico - Girl's Trip, 1998.|
I am proud to celebrate Mother’s day in May and every other day of the year with these phenomenal women in my life.
Cheers to all of us!