Second Mom

Sam: Is my mom dead?

Me: Me? Or (birth mom’s name here)?

Sam: Oh yeah. My birth mother.

Me: Very much alive and well. Why do you ask?

Sam: Well, she had me a long, long, long time ago.

Me: True five is old. But in grown up years that is still not a long time. And she is younger then me, so I wouldn’t worry about her health unless she tells us to. Hey, Sam do you like the term birth mother? Or would you prefer to call her your birth mom, or just call her by her name? Or is there something else you’d like to call her?

Sam: Well, since she was my first mom, can I call her that?

Me: Sure

Sam: And you can be Second Mom.

Me: OK.

Sam: Second Mom, can you help me put on my pajamas?

Me: I’m fine with you calling me Mom when we’re in real time.

Sam: Yes you are my real second mom. And I am your real first son. And Marcel is just a nut job.


  1. I love this piece. I love a lot about it– mostly how telling it is about the sweet and honest and willing- to- grapple-with-things-together– yours and Sam’s relationship is. I know there are still a lot of young people out there, in families formed by adoption, who don’t get an invite like yours from their moms or dads– to talk about what they want to call birthfamily– and the chance to say things like “second mom” which was really very, very sweet and funny. What a relationship! Love, Laura

  2. Awesome. (I’m still a bit giggly about the nutjob part) My grandmother raised me although my mom was around. Grandma was “Big mommy” during my childhood years. She is now just mom and my mother and I are on a first name basis. It was a very natural evolution, as I came to understand the role of a mother in my own way it just seemed natural that she’d be called mom.

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