Real Life Mama: Only multiply, never divide

She was 10 when I met her – a super shy little girl. And, I will be honest, I was a little nervous about whether we could ever develop a very meaningful relationship. I mean, by ten, I figured she probably had it all figured out, and well, who was I to come in and change any of that?

On top of that, I had MY girls to worry about anyway. And at that time, they were already going through enough with all our changes. I just really didn’t think my heart had enough love in it to give to another little girl. Sure, I would bring her around and get to know her, but that would probably be the extent of it.

Little did I know that God had something completely different in store for the both of us. And I feel like I probably should have known, like, hello Sarah, remember when you were pregnant with Reagan and were so worried that you loved Maylie so much that you didn’t have enough love to give another child. But then Reagan came along and proved that love – it doesn’t divide, it multiplies.

And that is exactly what happened with my bonus girl, Lyndsay.

Listen, if you are single in your late thirties (man, I am old!), then you better just come to terms with the fact that any person you find is going to have bonus babies. Lee actually has 5 – pick your jaw up off the floor. I laced up my running shoes when I found that out as well. But I didn’t get too far.

While the three younger bonus babies stay with Lee’s ex-wife, their mom, and we get to love on them every other weekend and one day a week, the oldest two are my two constant blessings. You see, their Mama passed away from cancer when they were very young, which means there aren’t any “every other weekend” or “shared holidays,” they are always with us. And guys, I wouldn’t have it any other way. More on my other bonus babies in the future (trust me, I can fill this column with adventures for years to come. Ha!)

For now, I want to introduce you to this girl with a sweet smile that stole my heart the first time I walked into her daddy’s place for a movie night with them. There was just something in her eyes that told me that I was supposed to be there – maybe not even to see her dad – but definitely to be around her.

As Lee and I spent more time together, I got to know this little girl more and more. At first, she was hard to crack – it was clear that her walls were up and she unwilling to let loose around a stranger – especially another woman who could just as easily get sick like her mom did or be gone one day when she returned home from school.

But slowly, I watched this child come out of her shell – unwillingly, I would pull her in for our kitchen dancing and she would start to open up. Little by little she started voicing her opinions more (maybe something that rubbed off on her from me. Ha!) Within no time, she was cuddling up with my girls on the couch and jumping into our selfies.

And then, all at once — or so it seemed — she just became one of mine. In fact, I don’t know how many times I have told her that even if her dad decided I wasn’t the one for him, that she was still going to be mine. Ha.

Since I met her, this girl has gone from a shy 10-year-old child to a full-blown outgoing, gorgeous preteen. Whew, age 10 to 12 is a huge difference! And, while there have been moments where she has been nicknamed “Wednesday” (as in Wednesday Adams) with her sulky moods, there have been many more moments where the light inside of her has come alive.

From being my go-to finder of all the things (especially shoes) to learning dances with her for social media posts, to teaching me all the teenage lingo and stealing my clothes (which I guess is a compliment), this child has brought so much love and joy into my life.

And when she texts me about her day, or tells me she loves me, or makes sappy social media posts about me that make me cry or lets me be the lap that she climbs into when she needs to cry, it’s like a feeling I cannot even describe.

Love. It doesn’t divide, guys. It only multiplies. And I am well aware of the bonus I hit with not only getting to love on, but also being loved by my bonus girl, Lynds.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.