Thursday, May 1, 2014

Listen To Your Mother Northern Utah Monologue "My Alternative Lifestyle"

I was honored to be one of the 16 women chosen to speak this past Tuesday night at the LTYM Northern Utah Conference.  

Above is a picture from a few years back.  Here my Ex Husband, his wife and I went to the Zoo and out to lunch with our 3 children.  

Here it is....My ALternative Lifestyle 

Karlisue VerHoef
My Alternative Lifestyle

My Mom taught me that love is a powerful tool.  She taught me that love heals wounds, mends hearts, comforts and brings peace. And, that a Mother’s love can change the world.  As I was growing up, I watched my Mom. I saw her work through tough situations. She always rose above and loved more than anything else.

When I had my first child I remember the overwhelming sense of love that overtook me when they placed him in my arms.  It was a feeling I wasn’t prepared for.  This little boy was mine.  I was his Mother and I felt it. There was no doubt in my heart that I would give my life for this little one.  For the first time ever I knew what it meant to feel a Mother’s love. 

The Mother’s love I felt only grew with each new child that joined our family.  A Mother’s love is fierce and unwavering.  It truly knows no bounds.  As I looked at my 3 young children I knew no one could ever love them as much as I did.

Shortly after my 3rd son was born I found myself a single parent. My husband of then 7 yrs and I had divorced and I was now alone with 3 very young children.
My life had been turned upside down but, the lessons of love that my mother taught me came to my rescue.  The love I had for my children gave me strength to conquer the many new tasks I had at hand, it made those lonely nights not so tough, it made all the hardships worth it because I loved them.

Weeks passed and my ex-husband called.  We talked briefly on the phone.  Then he hesitantly brought up a subject he knew would be tough for me to hear.  He had a girlfriend and they would probably get married. He would like to introduce the kids to their future Step Mom. With a lump in my throat I invited them over to decorate cupcakes the following Sunday.  I hung up the phone and dropped to the floor with my eyes full of tears.  My heart and head filled with emotions I could not control. 

Sunday came to quickly.  I was getting ready for them to come over, going through outfit after outfit trying to find one that was just right.  I was so nervous it was ridiculous. More worried about what I looked like for our children’s soon to be “other mom” than anything else. I made cupcakes and bought icing because I knew I would mess it all up if I tried to make it myself.  The evening was uneventful. The conversation had a lot to do with cupcakes. A good buffer to steer clear of what was really on our minds. As we frosted I couldn’t help but think: Are my kids going to call her Mom?, will she be good to them?, how is this all going to work? 

I had already received advice from acquaintances about the “Step Mom”. “Stand your ground, let her know you are the Mom and she is not, make sure the kids don’t call her mom because she is not their Mom, you are.”  Our first meeting was filled with lots of fake small talk and lots of racing thoughts. 

And then they left, my ex-husband with his new girlfriend, and I all could think was, “if that girl had moved in next door, we would have been best friends”. She seemed fantastic!  But, how could I love her?  How could I share my kids with another woman?  I was their Mom and no one feels what I feel for them. 

Time passed and our meetings became less awkward and more genuine.  I allowed myself to get to know and truly listen to this woman who was now my childrens Step Mom.  Late one night I found myself really thinking about how much I loved my kids.  I thought about how often I think about and say I would die for them.  The ultimate sacrifice to die for someone.  Then it hit me.  If I would die for my children then I could put my pride aside for my children.  I could put my pride aside and love, forgive, and accept their new Step Mom.  I knew this would be what was best for them, I knew this would benefit them in so many ways.  The Mother’s love I felt for each of my children grew that night as I made the resolve to love not just my children but, to love their new step mom too.

Now, I am happily re-married with 2 more children.  Life is good and I could not imagine raising my children without another Mother by my side.  Yep another mother by my side. This choice hasn’t always been easy but,  We attend soccer games, school events, singing performances, everything together.  We share a google calendar, call one another to express our frustrations and successes in our day.  We share pictures and discuss our hopes and dreams for each of our children. When at an event our kids will never have to decide which parent they have to sit with or who are they going to let down.  They know we are together.  My children also know if they do something they aren’t supposed to, not only do they have to answer to one Mom but, they have to answer to two. We communicate and express our feelings to one another.   And no one is a step mom. We have done something that is not commonly accepted.  I am often asked about the kids “wicked step Mom” and more often than not get a weird reaction when they find out we are friends.  When asked why we get along so well the answer is simple.  A Mother’s love, and yes I believe with all of my heart that it isn’t just my Mother’s Love but, also the Mothers love that my kids other Mom has as well.  She might not have given birth to my 3 oldest children but, she is a Mother to them in my eyes and in the eyes of my children. 

One day while attending the first Soccer Practice of the season for my daughter.  Another Mother from team came up to find out who we were.  We introduced ourselves as “Kiki’s Mom’s” making no differentiation between the two of us.  The woman looked at us blankly and walked away.  The next practice I attended I had another Mom come up excitedly and say to me “We are so excited to have an “Alternative Couple” on our team” I gave a puzzled look,.  She said “You and your partner, we are so excited to have you both on our team”  I couldn’t help myself and I burst into laughter.  I explained though I would happily Marry my kids other Mom she is married to my ex-husband and I’m happily married as well.  This woman then a little embarrassed admitted she never would have guessed we were Mom and Step Mom.  She replied “you just looked so happy together”
We share a love that is so powerful for our children.  I know she is a true Mother and I respect her as such.  My life has been greatly blessed because of the love I have for her.  This road was a road that was chosen and it is one that is not well traveled.  We may hit some bumps but, I know my kids will make it through because they have 2 Mothers who love them, 2 Mothers who would put their needs before their own, 2 Mothers who would die for them, and 2 Mothers who are willing to put their pride aside and love.

My Mother taught me the power of love.  Love heals wounds, mends hearts, comforts and brings peace.  But, a Mother’s Love can change the world.  The lives of my 3 oldest children have truly been changed forever by not only the love of one mother, but 2. 


Melanie said...

Wonderful Karli! Absolutely Wonderful!

~j. said...

Beautiful, Karli. Excellent. Can't wait to see the video.

Sarah Mick said...

I got along great with my ex's girlfriend before he passed away. I hoped they'd marry because she would've been the perfect other mom. Well written!

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