Belle-mère or beautiful mother

Picture this: a single woman with an active career representing international clients that required travel to various cities and countries. She's accustomed to cooking for one, if at all. She takes her clothes to the dry cleaners and cleans her one-bedroom apartment in less than an hour. Now place that same woman in a ready-made family with three children, cooking for five, spending whole days in the laundry room, and carting kids to school and various other activities.

I never wanted to be a mother. It hadn't really sunk in when I married a man with three children that they might actually live with us full time. In fact, it didn't happen all at once. For the first three years of our marriage, we had them every other weekend. Then, one by one, they came to live with us permanently. With them came a host of opportunities for growth in grace.

Most important, I felt the impetus to examine closely what motherhood is all about. It's not so much about giving birth as it is about the total role one plays in a child's life. Today's families are often formed by merging two families and by adopting children in need of a close-knit unit. Some children may be from different ethnic and racial backgrounds or from a different country.

August 25, 1997

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