Happy Mother’s Day to the Other Mother

It's Mother's Day, and I feel so honored and grateful for having the privilege of being a Mom, especially since I get to be Dr. Smooth's mom.  He really is an incredible kid, and I thank God for such an awesome gift.  But I also thank God for another really cool gift, and that is Dr. Smooth's OTHER MOM.  His dad and I really hit the jackpot with that one. It has been said that being a mother is the hardest job in the world.  I definitely do not want to dispute that, but there is one job that is quite possibly a tad bit harder than being a mom, and that is being a stepmom.   And unless you have been a stepmom, you have no idea.  I could try to explain why, but if you're not a stepmom, you won't get it, and if you are a stepmom, I don't need to explain. So I want to very publicly acknowledge and thank my kid's stepmom for being one of the biggest blessings in his life.  And mine. From the very beginning, she has had his best interests at heart.  She cut right through the tension between his father and me to put my son at the forefront and create a family unit for him that bridged both households to provide him with stability, love, and consistency.   Her viewpoint was that Dr. Smooth didn't ask for his family to be split into two homes, and we owed it to him to work together and be one family.  His family. She and I threw ourselves into that goal, and I am so proud and happy to say that we have accomplished it.  Althoughstepmom, Mother's Day all four of his parents are very much on board, it is largely because of her willingness and her efforts that my child grew up in such a stable environment.  We have always held his birthday parties together so he doesn't have to choose or be torn.  We trick or treat together so he doesn't have to choose or be away from the people he loves.  We make every effort to ensure if family members are in town, he sees them and spends time with them -- no matter whose "day" it is.  We work with each other on booking vacations, concerts, parties, recitals--whatever it takes to make sure he doesn't miss out in either home and can fully take part in whatever his family is doing -- no matter which house it's at. When his dad comes to pick up, he comes in and visits.  When I pick up, Dr. Smooth usually has to usher me out of the house because she and I are talking so long.  If he is "in trouble" at one house, he is "in trouble" at the other house. mother's dayWhen she and Dr. Smooth's dad welcomed their first child, I gave her a card expressing from my heart that she and I are forever joined.  Our children share blood; they are brother and sister.  We are forever connected.  And as their family has increased and multiplied, so has mine.  My heart has been expanded and blessed by her children being in my life and in my son's life.  My Knight and I cherish and love those kids as our own, and we strive to be a part of their lives and support them in their endeavors.  They are our family.  And we are theirs. It is not unusual in our family for us to pick up Dr. Smooth's brother or sisters from school or dance lessons, or delight in having them stay with us overnight. It is not unusual for Dr. Smooth to go to a concert with both of his moms, or a BMX bike show with both of his dads.  It is not unusual for My Knight to help out painting a home for the other mom's parents, or for Dr. Smooth's dad to come and help My Knight with a project.  It is not unusual for the two moms to take off together for a girls' night out, or to help each other out with a task.  It is not unusual in our family to go to church together, sit together, serve together. I do realize this is unusual for most people.  People ask us all the time,  "How do you do it?"  And I understand that everyone does not have what we have.  For some people, there is to0 much pain, too much bitterness or anger or fear or wounds that haven't healed.  I get that.  In fact, I appreciate what we have been able to accomplish all the more because I truly do get that. A friend told me once there is no way she would be able to handle some other woman trying to be her kid's mom.  But I don't see it like that.  She is not trying to be his mom; she is being his stepmom.  His other mom.  I am Dr. Smooth's mother, and nothing will ever change that.  I know that his love for me and my relationship with  him is not changed by his love for any other. He is lucky enough to have another mom, a bonus mom, and I thank God that she loves him too, and that he loves her.  I am forever grateful for that. For me, it has been a huge comfort as a mom to know that when he is away from me, someone is watching over him who loves him very much.  Someone who is looking out for his best interests and working hard to give him what he needs to be a successful human being.  Someone who works with me to teach him manners and morals and ethics.  Someone who helps to provide experiences to enrich his life, whether it be guitar lessons or concerts or scuba training. And there is actually a really cool upside to having another mom.  We all call our friends to bounce ideas off them when making decisions or facing challenges with our kids, but I am lucky enough to have a friend who actually parents the same exact kid, so I always have someone to talk to who really understands what I am going through! When she makes decisions for him in her household, I know she respects and weighs my opinions along with hers, and I appreciate that.  And even when we might disagree or don't feel the same way about things, we respect each other and love each other and him enough to work through it and move beyond it. I really believe that because of her and the person she is, we have been able to create the best possible situation for my kid under the circumstances. He has parents in both homes who love him and want what's best for him.  He does not have the tension that so many children of divorce have to suffer through.  He does not know or understand that.  He is completely comfortable being with any of us or all of us at the same time.  For him, we are all his family, and we all love him.  And that is all he needs to know. So today I just want to say Happy Mother's Day to a woman whom I am honored to call my friend and my co-mom.  Thank you, MaryJane.  I love you.   stepmother, mother's day    

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm: Saturday Through My Lens

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm Today is a rainy, dreary Saturday, so I'm going to turn the clock back to last weekend for this week's Saturday Through My Lens at the Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in Tampa.   I learned about the farm from a flyer I got at the Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City.  The olive lady gave it to me while she was convincing me to try her black olive salad, even though I detest black olives.  (She challenged me to try it, and I must admit it was delish!) The Sweetwater Organic Community Farm's Sunday Farmer's Market sounded like the perfect weekend outing for My Knight and me. They feature several area vendors with handmade crafts and yummy things like fresh baked bread and smoothies.  And of course there is lots of fresh organic produce.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh organic produce

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm organic green beans

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh squash

 I've been making a lot of smoothies at home, incorporating different fruits and veggies.  I really like adding kale to my smoothies, so we picked up a bunch at the market.  One of the market vendors had a smoothie with kale, celery, cucumber, pineapple, honey and ginger.  It was so refreshing!  I never thought of adding celery before, but I will now.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh kale

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm Kale

In addition to the smoothies, we also tried a salt caramel popsicle (heavenly!).  We got all adventurous and tried our first nut burger, which was actually very tasty.  I've been looking for recipes to recreate one at home.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm nut burger

The farm has members who pay an annual fee in exchange for a weekly share of fresh produce and herbs.  They also agree to volunteer a minimum number of hours on the farm so that the work is shared among the community.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh organic produce

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

The weather was perfect for a farmer's market day.  It was bright and cheerfully sunny with a bit of a breeze.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

It got quite warm as the day wore on, but the majestic oak trees gave us plenty of cool shade for relaxing and listening to the live music from local bands and singers.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm Oaks

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Even the sunflowers seemed to be seeking out shade to get a little break from the spring sun.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm sunflowers

While other plants seem to be stretching with all their might to soak up as much sun as possible.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Sweetwater Organic Community FarmI am so thankful for the farmers who put in all the hard work so we can have fresh healthy food.  Because Lord knows I do not have a green thumb on either hand!

Sweetwater Organic Community FarmBut all these goodies make me want to try my hand at it myself!  You should visit Sweetwater Organic Community Farm's Sunday Market before they're closed for the summer.  The Farmer's Market is open on Sundays from 12-4pm from November to May.  Maybe I'll see you there!