As a therapist and as a teacher, I consciously borrow from my own life experiences in order to assist my clients and students along with the many years of training and education I have had of course. I very much embrace the “person of the therapist” theory and share my experiences in order to enrich the bond I have with my own clients and students.

About a year and a half ago a court decided to place my husband’s daughter in our custody after a great deal of evidence and testimony was presented. It’s a somewhat rare thing in our  state for a judge to remove a child from her biological mother’s custody and it was clear this judge gave this a lot of  serious consideration before making his decision. My husband and I wept with relief and joy upon hearing his decision.

This little girl and I had easily forged an incredible bond from the first encounter when she was only four years old, so it was an easy and delightful transition to have her come and live in our home permanently. The past year and a half has been rich with opportunity to experience the day in and day out treasures of raising a little girl when I have only been accustomed to raising boys prior.

Perhaps it’s because of the long and rich bond this beautiful child and I have that we are not the typical “step mother” and “step daughter.” She started off calling me “Miss Lynn” when she was four at our first meeting when I was dating her father and that name has stuck. She also has struggled aloud with my role in her life because she has felt guilty at times for loving me, perhaps afraid it was a betrayal of her mother. After much reassurance from her father and me that there is MORE than enough love to go around and she can love everyone in her life as much as she wishes, she eventually relaxed with it all. One evening as I was tucking her into bed she cocked her head thoughtfully and said, “You know, Mom is my first mother and you are my second mother.” I confirmed, “Yes, that is true. You have two mothers and a girl is very lucky to have so many adults in her life who love her so much.”

Second Mother. What an honor it is to be in this role. Never taking away from her relationship with her first mother, but absolutely augmenting, providing the day-in and day-out mothering that the court has entrusted me with. Her father and I are raising her to feel free to love and free to express her thoughts and feelings without judgment in our home. And she is teaching us new things every day.

Today we will be painting pottery together; an experience we have come to see as a chance to just hang out and be together with no pressure of time, sharing in our mutual love of artistic expression. I listen very carefully when she talks to me and I listen very carefully to my own inner experience as I embrace this relatively new role in my life.

Here is to second mothers everywhere! May we all embrace each step along the way with love and appreciation for the opportunity.

Om Shanti,

Lynn Louise