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When I was little, I referred to them as Mommy Susie and Mommy Patti. Mommy Susie was the one who gave birth to me, the one who died in a car accident when I was eleven months old. Mommy Patti was the one who married my dad when I was two and a half, who adopted me as her child, and has taken care of me ever since. I have vivid memories of talking to my adoptive mother about my biological mother, a subject matter which now seems oddly inappropriate. I think that, when I was younger, I did not entirely grasp the idea of death. I had no concept of the delicate familial web that was woven when one woman was taken away and another stepped in to fill her shoes.

I have no recollection of ever talking to my dad and brother about my mother. My dad plays the role of the strong male figure in the family, void of emotion and distress. He gives me no hint as to what my mother was like, perhaps because of his inclination to leave the past in the past. As for my brother, I can only imagine the impact that her death had on him. He was only four years old when he witnessed the whole gruesome ordeal, and I often feel that it is not my place to inquire about her, stirring up feelings he has deliberately suppressed for so many years.

Although it can be argued that I have two mothers with twice the love and twice the caring, I sometimes feel that I have no mother at all. I get jealous easily when I see the bond that many people share with their mother. To no fault of anyone, my relationship with my adoptive mother seems lacking in that area. They say that the love a mother feels for her child the first time she sees it is incomparable. I often feel as if I have been cheated out of such affection, as if part of me is missing. The bond that I had with my mother was broken before I even had the chance to experience it.

Perhaps the most difficult part of my situation is discerning right from wrong. Is it wrong for me to call my biological mother my “real mother”? Does that take away credibility from the woman who has loved me and taken care of me for fifteen years?
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