Three Little Girls

Three Little Girls

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

Three Little Girls

A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.

Cardinal Mermillod

I became a mom in 1965 when I married a man who had custody of his three little girls, ages seven, five, and three. People often ask me now, “How did you do that?”

I have to chuckle when they ask, because I really was too busy and too newly married to even think about how I did it—I just did it! I remember that it was not always easy, but I knew I was going to give it everything I had because I loved their father with all my heart. I turned twenty-one just two weeks after our wedding, and I was young and full of energy and optimism.

My stepdaughters desperately needed a stable family environment at that time, and they were open and receptive to my “mothering” and love. There were difficult situations to handle, because they were still getting used to a new person in the house. They were also dealing with the emotions that accompanied occasional visits with their mother. She would always be their mother and a part of their lives. I was amazed at the way they seemed to work it all out in their little minds and still be so accepting of me as their new caregiver. The phrase, “Love heals all things,” comes to mind!

In a short time, I actually felt their love and acceptance, and it made the job of parenting much easier. But when I found that I was expecting my own child, I wondered just what my feelings might be after I gave birth. Would I feel the same about doing all the motherly things for them on a daily basis? Would I still enjoy my stepmother status, or perhaps resent the extra work that caring for the girls required?

Our son, Steven Vincent, was born on October 10, 1967. He was the first grandson in the family on my husband’s side, and the grandparents were overjoyed. My husband finally had a son, and it was a happy occasion for all of us!

I remember being in the hospital after our son’s birth, and recall the moment that I first gazed upon his little face lying next to me. The love that filled my heart was indescribable. I couldn’t wait to hold him! I was a mother!

But my next thought was, “Wait! I am already a mother!”

Tears welled up in my eyes, as the volume of love seemed to increase inside my heart and soul. I missed those girls! I cried because I wanted to see them, to hug them, and have them meet their baby brother. It was the first thing I said to my husband when he came into my room.

“Can you bring the girls here?”

Back in 1967, they did not allow children in the maternity ward around the babies. I was pretty sure I would have to wait until my release from the hospital to see them. But my husband had an idea.

“I can bring them to the hospital, and you can look out the window. We will all be down there on the lawn.”

Later that afternoon, I looked out of the hospital win- dow and saw them with their Dad on the lawn. I remember it so clearly! Their blonde hair was shining, and their smiling faces looked up as they waved their little arms at me. It was such a pivotal moment in my life as I defined my family—our three girls and our new baby boy! The love I felt was again overwhelming, and I cried more tears of joy, surprising myself at the deep emotion I was feeling. My new son may have made me a biological mother, but I recognized the fact that I had already received the blessing of feeling motherly!

There were many challenges over the years as we added two more children to our family. I would not change one moment of any of it for the world! During some of the most challenging times with my stepdaughters, I would recall the day when I gazed down at them from that hospital window and realized just how very much I loved them.

Beverly F. Walker

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