“Do you think you’ll be able to love a kid that’s not yours?” “Do you ever wish you had a child of your own?” “Do you know who K’s real mother is?”
Questions like those once had tremendous power over me. They had the power to sting. They had the power to make me feel less than. But, they don’t have power any more. You see, I became a real mother over 15 years ago to a child who is every bit my own.
I was real when the delivery nurse placed a newborn baby in my arms. I was real when I walked out into the California sunshine with my girl. I was terrified, but I was real. I was real when relief rushed over me the next morning because M and I had managed to keep K alive for an entire day. Real, when the terror returned and I realized I had to keep her alive for every day of my life.
K was mine when nightmares sent her climbing into my bed because sleeping next to me was the only thing that made the bad dreams go away. She was mine each time she ran into my arms when I picked her up from school. She was mine when she held me after my mother died and said “Mommy, what will I do if you die?”
It’s been a long time since I thought about any of those questions. Why think about things that have no power? But last week, we spent two nights with K in the ER. She’s fine, thanks, but those were a couple of exhausting, scary nights. There were moments when I had to force myself not to cry. I had to listen to the doctors and pretend not to be afraid.
In the midst of it all, I heard that question from long ago – “Do you ever wish you had a child of your own?” And my mind repeated the answer that I’ve known for every day of K’s life – I have a child of my own and she is everything I ever wished for.