In the beginning…

I met my husband when our oldest daughter was 7 years old. Yes, I will refer to my oldest as “mine” and
“ours” because although I didn’t give birth to her, blood couldn’t make me love her any more. When I
met her for the first time, it was instant… in fact I think I fell in love with her before I did my husband, I
digress. She was such a soft-spoken little girl and I could tell she was trying to size me up to see if I was
here to stay or just passing through. Each time I was with her, I was able to whittle away at the wall of
protection she had around her heart and we became inseparable. Even when she was with her mother
she would call and text me and tell me about her day or whatever was going on in school/at home
during that time.

The transition…

Over the years the love only grew and due to that I have been met with resistance from her mother at every
turn. I won’t, now nor will I ever, bash her mother because that does no one any good plus she gave
birth to one of my greatest gifts; a daughter I didn’t birth but that I get to choose to love every day for
the rest of my life. That being said it hasn’t been easy being in this position. There were a lot of growing
pains. I initially wanted the whole blended family vibe.

I thought to myself
Self: “We are all grown, educated, accomplished adults who can co-parent great together”
Myself said: “You are living in a fantasy world, ________ will never accept you as a part of your
daughters’ life”
Self said “Yes she will… one day we will all be able to go out to dinner together and talk about any and
everything pertaining to all the kids”

Self was optimistic yet delusional.

It happened…

My daughter called me Ms. Latrese (Latrese is my middle name) for the first two years of my
relationship with my husband, then a little after he proposed, she decided to start calling me “Ma”. I
would be lying if I didn’t say I was overjoyed because I felt like a Bonusmom to her since the beginning.
We thought “Ma” would soften the blow, it wasn’t Mommy or mother… just a good ole country Ma.
We. Were. Wrong. When her mother heard that it turned into WWIII in our family.

As a mother, I tried to put myself in her shoes. I even reached out to my mom to get her perspective.
I’ve called my mother in love “Ma” since before I was married and my mom called my dad’s mother
“Ma” as well. Of course, she felt the same as I did; that anytime a child feels additional love and it is
reciprocated with respect, it can never be the wrong thing. She explained that she never felt or feels
threatened or intimidated by my relationship with my mother in love or any other woman in my life I
look up to because she is secure and confident in the relationship that she and I have. She knows that I
love and respect her and that in my heart she can NEVER be replaced. So, there it was, I was my daughters “Ma” and I FREAKING LOVED IT. Love cannot be contained, it is meant to overflow and spill on us all.

The catch…

Even though my daughter and I feel like bonusmom and daughter, it’s still a very difficult position for
me. A position where I would literally stand in front of a bullet for a child but can’t make basic family
plans without the consent of my husband and her mother. Before bio-moms (as I call them) start
yelling… yes, I know her mother should be involved in all decisions but I am speaking from my
perspective… It. Is. Hard. Not because I don’t want to include her mom but because I have to ask
permission to do just about anything major because her mother doesn’t respect or trust me. My input
and opinions are minimized at every turn, I am silenced, I am forgotten and I am dismissed. I want to
scream and yell and if I am honest, I have.

Mom, Mommy, Ma...

My husband and I now have physical custody of my oldest so things are better. More often then not, I am reminded that I am a stepmom. Well, I will correct that and say I am the best bonus mom around. Step sounds so evil to me. I am more than a stepmom because I get to love on a child I choose every day, which makes me a bonus to her already great life. Everything I have been through; I would do it again because loving on and being loved by my oldest is absolutely amazing.

My three daughters give me purpose, they inspire me, they motivate me and they remind me of Gods wonderful grace. I will
today and forever be her “Ma” and there aint a damn thing anyone can do about it!

Love &  Light,

Bonus mommiTrese