I remember the first time he stole my heart. We were walking around my old 'Hood in Portland, headed to his favorite restaurant - Nothing But Noodles.
In his 5-year old innocence, he looked up at me with his big blue eyes and said "Sara, will you be my next mom? I don't want Brandy to be my mom anymore."
If I had a dollar for every time he said "My Sara, you look so beautiful today," or "Sara, you're my favorite woman in the WHOLE world," or my personal favorite: "I love you more than 4 billion and three people" I'd never have to work again.
The boy who wants snuggle time, takes pride when we are out and someone says he looks just like me, isn't mine anymore... she took him back. Because she had him first.
All it took was two measly visits with her. Two visits to her slum, surrounded by strangers, the freedom to choose inappropriate movies and video games, and her willingness to be manipulated by his now 7 year old mind - he whined he NEVER gets to play outside at our house... never... despite my effort last Sunday when I was sick, and I took him and his sister outside, taught them how to throw a frisbee, planted some seedlings with them, watched them play and laugh and perform "tricks" to me in the yard, as their dad was busy inside doing homework... despite that I spent over three hours teaching the two of them how to play Old Maid, War, and endless hands of Go Fish...
Now SHE is back and I am nothing.
At dinner tonight I made a comment I have made hundreds of times before, "Well son, that's just the way it is."
"Why did you call me son?" he asked - and then the glare.
I said nothing. I didn't know what to say. Instead I was haunted by future visions of his 14 year old anger, screaming at me "You can't tell me what to do! You're not my mother!" and me yelling back "You know what? You're right! But you have to listen to me anyway!"
He will never know that I didn't take fertility treatments, that I didn't try for a baby of my own, which I want more than anything, because I knew he needed me more than the unborn child I didn't have did. That they both would need me more, because she will let them down again and again, and I will be there to help them up. He will never know that sacrifice. He will just hate me instead, because SHE will hate me. He will protect her broken and pathetic existence because He is Hers.
His sister isn't lost to me yet. She came in after daycare today and yelled, "Mommy Sara! I'm hooooome!" and rushed back to show me the penny she found today that she was so excited she gets to keep... she came out to dig in the plants with me, and she asked me if I would tuck her in.
She still wants me. For now.
Will I have to lose her too?
About five minutes before bed he asked me if I wanted to play "Operation" - a last minute ruse to avoid bed time.
"No Jori, there's not time." I said.
Raising another woman's children just might break my heart. Sometimes I really wonder if it's worth it and I just want to be called "Mom" again and feel it's true.