The other night I was watching an episode of Intervention, one of the handful of shows I am currently obsessed with. In fact, I was pondering....what happens if you're addicted to watching Intervention? Will they do an Intervention Intervention?
The addict had a daughter, but the daughter had been raised by the addict's sister, because the addict had never been able to take care of her. She always chose the drug lifestyle over her child.
And you might think the addict was grateful to her sister for providing a safe, stable home for her child when she obviously couldn't. But not only was she not grateful at all, she was quite resentful. She hated that her sister and daughter had a close relationship and at one point said, "I am the mother! I can show you my stretch marks right now! I carried that kid!"
At which point I wanted to jump through the TV and smack her around a little bit.
It blows my mind that anyone can honestly think that giving birth is all it takes to make someone a mother. I guess they think that once they push that baby out, they're done - anyone can take care of the kid; they did it all in that 9 months. They got the morning sickness, and stretch marks, and birthed the child. The next 18 years of parenting apparently don't count.
It's something I could picture Andrew's "egg donor" of a mother saying. She did in fact give birth to Andrew, and even managed to stick around for 6 months. Since then, she's been in and out of Andrew's life, totally inconsistent, until 2 years ago, when she dropped out altogether.
But she gave birth to him. Her pregnancy wasn't easy; after her first child was born prematurely, she had to have a cerclage and was very closely monitored.
She went through labor and childbirth.
But it takes more than that to be a Real Mom.
A real mom invests time and love into their child, and doesn't bail when things get hard.
She's there for the fun times, and the not-so-fun times. Let's face it folks, raising kids has its share of frustration, anger, and tears. And let's just be honest....some of it is just tedious and boring. But real Moms....we do it all.
I remember Andrew's bio-mom showing up for his preschool graduation. Front and center with her camera, all teary-eyed and "proud", demanding that we give her his graduation cap (which we had purchased...she has never contributed monitarily in any way, even before she disappeared). It was sickening.
Andrew is only eleven years old, but he knows one thing. He decided on his own that it doesn't matter who gave birth to him. What matters to him is who takes him to soccer practice, who helps with his homework, who cooks his dinner every night, who throws his birthday parties.
You know....the Real Mom.