When you are a stepparent, you can often find yourself in awkward positions. I’m sure this may happen with biological parents as well, but I’m not one of those and can’t really speak to that. Alas, I don’t have children of my own.
That last sentence sounds funny. “Children of one’s own.”
Being a full-time stepmother is pretty much as close to having children of one’s own as you can get IF you didn’t give birth to a child or adopt one. You have to do what other parents do in the normal course of the day when raising children: make sure they eat and get to school, drive them to sports activities or to the orthodontist’s office, nag them to do their homework, follow up on their chores, separate them when they are squabbling (daily), and get them to bed on time. That is just for starters. You (step)parents out there know what I mean.
And you have to love them. If that fails you, then at least accept them, despite the resistance you feel. Even when they say they hate you. I know children say this to their biological parents in fits of anger, but somehow it feels true when you aren’t their “real” parent. Who are you but the adult in the role they don’t want you to play?
Play? Who said this was play?
Perhaps I’m thin-skinned. “Disengagement” is the oft-heard concept that is trying to take root in my head and swath me in barb-repelling armor.
Although the kids and I do not share the same blood, we do live together with the one person they and I adore and love and count on: Dearest Beloved.* The one person we all want for ourselves. Our common bond.
With that bond, we persevere as a family. Blended family, as is the term du jour.
But back to the where I began with all this. Recently I took my stepdaughter to the DMV for her learner’s permit test. The clerk kept referring to me as “mom,” as in: “Have your mom fill this form out and sign it.” Or, “Mom, are you ready to have your daughter on the road soon?” This was awkward because my stepdaughter knows, and I know, and you know, but the clerk did not know, that I am not her “mom.” Yet, there I am doing the mundane activities a typical mother does for her children.
That “mom” versus “stepmom” terrain is tricky. We’ve made a few wrong turns, I can assure you.
This time, we didn’t correct the clerk. Neither did we look at each other. We let it float there, amidst our thought bubbles filled with conflicting utterances. Yes, indeed, a (step)daughter of my own.
*By the way, Dearest Beloved is at it again. Yes, he has a new epitaph on his page.