Getting Real With Elizabeth Sanchez

They say you don’t really appreciate your parents until you become a parent yourself. I fully experienced that feeling twice. Not because I gave birth to two children, which I did, but because I became a step-parent and then later became a parent.

And my mom knows exactly how that feels.

Every time I want to kick somebody because after introducing my children, they inevitably say, “Ooooh, so he’s not really your son.”

Every time someone asks, “Wow. You really love him, don’t you, even though he’s not yours?”

Every time someone gives me a dirty look because he looks too old to be my son, which clearly means I am a high school dropout with three kids in tow. (Note: I look young for my age and he looks older for his age; it’s the perfect combination.)

Every time I want to scream in frustration, I call my mom. She has five kids, four of which she gave birth to. She also has four grandchildren, three of which are mine.  She has heard everything I’m hearing now, and nowadays she also gets, “Oh, so he’s not really your grandson.”

Uh. Yeah he is.

My mom has always had a thick shell, and when people criticize her, her superpower is the ability to deflect it as if she was wearing Wonder Woman’s bracelets. She’s my role model for so many things, and I’m so grateful that I have someone to learn from when it comes to loving all your kids. ALL of them.

Wonder Woman, aka my mom, taught me that the relationship between you and the son that was your husband’s family before you were is sacred. Sometimes people want to point out that my brother isn’t really my brother, he’s only my half-brother. My mom brushed those comments aside with such ease that it was always easy for us to do the same. She was always a listening ear when he was little. She was a constant voice of reason when he was a teenager. And she remained supportive when he became an adult and a father himself.

Just like in “Is Your Mama a Llama?” by Deborah Guarino, my mama is his mama, too.

Loving my oldest son ever since the very first time I laid eyes on him is as effortless as loving the babies I held in my arms in the delivery room. But then again, it never occurred to me not to love him. Thanks to my mother, there was never anybody in my life that taught me otherwise.

On the contrary, I learned all about how to be a step-mama because my mama is one, too.