When I said “I Do” to my husband, my marriage came with it the requisite in-laws, brother, cousins – this whole other family with ne’er do wells and honest do wells if I’m being truthful. Most distressing for me was that my at-home family now included a stepson.
I remember the day I met him. I was terrified. I knew this eight-year old might not make my relationship but he sure could break it. He was (and still is) skinny, red-headed, freckle faced and adorably gap toothed as they come. I was nice, funny, and tried not come on too strong. I for d@mn sure didn’t act like a mother. He has one of those.
All stories are complicated and mine isn’t anything unusual. We live in Texas and he lives in Oregon. I’ve never perceived any animosity from his mother; it’s more of an indifference to my existence. But she has never been a concern in my marriage or beyond; making sure this young person knew that while I wasn’t trying to take the place of his mother, I did want a happy marriage with his father, and I truly, deeply, honestly want to be a person that he can respect.
Notice I didn’t say love. I am keenly aware he already has parents, grandparents, cousins – a full loving family. He doesn’t need me or my love, but I would like him one day to believe that I have added something positive to his life.
He is currently in the throes of puberty. I have no idea what to talk to him about. I didn’t talk to 14-years old boys when I was 14. He is a gamer – no sports or outdoors. He loves something called Minecraft and another called Terrarium. I try to play. I am learning the vocabulary and I can give the best “I really really want to see this venus-trap looking eyeball that shoots fire and you fend off with a knife and bubbles while wearing goggles”. I stop whatever I’m doing to show an interest. It’s the only thing I know to do: pay attention, even without a clue how to make Mario go left.
Rarely do stories show step-mothers in a good light; however, this is my story and I’m writing it (and re-writing it) in an attempt to show we don’t all have horns. If you have a step-something, I’m all ears on how you make it work. Screw Disney. I want a realistic ending.
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