I have been a parent for 18 years now. It has been the BEST job I have ever had. Really, there has been nothing like investing in the lives of our children, all six of them. Watching them grow and change from day to day. Watching them meet physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and social milestones. Hovering over them in seasons, letting them fly in others. Always praying for them, rooting for them, and sometimes correcting them when warranted. Being a parent is not for the faint of heart and I have definitely NOT "arrived". I still have much to learn and our children are some of the best teachers.
One of the most important lessons that our kids have taught me is that love has no boundaries. You can't place labels on love. It is such a profound concept, a precious endless commodity. Being a parent places you in the very essence of love. Specifically, being a mother, brings love that is so intense and all-consuming that it is sometimes hard to discern where I end and where my children begin. I believe "mother love" is an "all-in" place of the heart and soul.
We have six children. Some were birthed from my womb. Some were not birthed from my womb. All were birthed in my heart. All have had my heart from day one. All have had my "mother love" heart and soul. All have been called my children. My sons and daughters. My cherished gifts from God. All have called me "Mom", "Mommy", "Mama", "Mother", "Madre". None have called me, "Step Mom" or "Step Mother". It's that simple. Just like adopted children do not refer to their parents as "Adopted Mom" or "Adopted Dad". As a sister of brothers, who were adopted, I have always known my brothers as my brothers. As a daughter of a dad who didn't father me, I have always called my dad, "Dad". And the dad who fathered me was, "Dad" too. Both have always had my whole heart.
And I don't call my mother-in-law, "Mother-in-Law", she's "Mom" to me. I have two loving, moms, actually I have many "mother figures" in my life. You can never have too much "mother love", in my opinion.
Our six children are all brothers and sisters. There's never been "half brother" this or "half sister" that. They are wholly loved by each other. This is truth in our family.
So, I know there are social niceties that dictate social gatherings and often introductions come with labels, but in our family, love has these labels: Dad, Mom, Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister...Family.