Saturday, January 16, 2010

What should my step-children call me?

At the rehearsal dinner on the eve of our wedding (the best days of my memory!), my soon-to-be stepson asked me what he should call me.

When King Solomon was presented with a choice between two “mothers,” he suggested that the child be split in half. As a child I always took this story literally—I read about Solomon taking up a knife, and was properly horrified. As a stepmother, I see this lesson in a new light.

The Church’s First Council of Ephesus as early as 431 A.D. concluded that in truth, a mother or father is the parent of the whole person. A child cannot be divided in identity or in ancestry body from soul, any more than he can be cut bottom from top. Calling me “mom” would associate me with motherhood of his soul or his mind, even though I am not mother of his body. To treat a person as if he is divisible is not only false, it also sets the child’s “parts” against each other. And let’s be honest: any attempt to talk about a child in terms of divided parentage most likely is intended to be an insult to one or the other parent. It certainly isn’t intended to foster a complete, fulfilled child.

In light of this understanding, I see what a great offense it would be to allow someone else’s child to call me “mom,” no matter what percentage of the year they are under my guidance. If I am to truly love them, then I must love them wholely, for who they truly are, body, mind and soul.

Who would not cringe at the thought of a child torn in two parts…yet how many of us do exactly that?

So my stepkids call me by my first name. We took the first steps with honesty.

No comments:

Post a Comment