Too much love to lock away

My friends have always told me that I have too much Love to lock away.
So when I was given the opportunity to look after my two cousins boys, one that I’ve had living with me for a good few years now and the other who moved in with me a just over a year ago, I never thought I could love them in a way their mother could.

Growing up in a loveless relationship with my step father, a hate hate relationship, a battle of wills and the hardship of a catholic following.
We really couldn’t stand to be in the same room and when we had no other option but to be, fear ran through me constantly, the fear of the belt across my bare bum or legs. Fear the maybe there was some truth, that his relationship with his so called god, has dictated how sorrowful my life has been.
He really did put the fear of god into me.
So growing up with such strong beliefs and what seemed like proof that you could only truly love your own child, has consumed my thoughts since before my Marly-Kate came into the world.
Her blood father was/is a waste of space, he has never had time or love for her but in truth I wasn’t and still am not that bothered, he was/is better off out of our lives.
I tried though to do the right thing, giving him more opportunities than I should have, to be part of her life.
It ended the way I thought it would, with not even a birthday card on her birthday. No contact at all. It’s the best way, I just hope she understands that she is better off without him.
Having no real male roll model in her life, isn’t how I wanted it but I’m thankful to say she knows no other way. She idolises her Grandfather Joe and her cousins and she’s happy with the love and friendship they give her.
She doesn’t go without love and to me that’s all that matters.
And she’s more than happy to low two, that we don’t need a man around.
She’s growing up to be a very strong willed incredible character and I’m so proud that the two of us have mastered that between us.

Anyway getting back to it.
So when my cousins boys came to live with me, fear ran deep that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be all they needed, that I wasn’t good enough for them, that I couldn’t open up my heart and let them truly in.
In truth it’s been hard at time especially when the shit hit the fan throughout GCSEs and panic attacks that tested us all to our limits.
It’s so very hard to watch a child crumble under the pressure and the need he felt to better himself.
No amount of words could console him in those moments. His anger would boil over and shit got real for a good hour or so.
But he got through it with a lot of support and love, love I thought I was incapable of giving him.
Those tricky moments only made our connection, our friendship and our bond grow. And even through in truth my heart is still very much broken, it aches with a different kind of ache.
An ache of true pride and love.

So can you truly love someone else’s child as they are your own?
I believe wholeheartedly that you can, because these two souls who entered Marlys and my home, when their lives were shaken to the core, have stolen (willingly) a piece of my heart.
The day they pack their bags and go their own way (uni is the plan for one, the other well he is content in staying with Marly and I until I guess he finds his soul mate and leaves to start a new life full of a different and wonderful kind of love) my heart will hurt the same as any mothers would.
love to me has taken on a different meaning.