I had instant affections for my husband’s son. He looks so much like Judah, though his eyes are a deep blue and his hair is blond as Billie’s was when he was little. He appeared like a small dirty angel with a mischievous grin silent and awkward. He attached himself to Judah and Cody in the beginning, having little to do with us. I sang to him as I sang to my son and I held him as if he were my own and the days would pass in our small window of time with him and by the end it would be hard to see his sleeping figure slip through the doorway in the early morning light to go back to where he had come from. Then there came a time when we had wondered if he would ever step back through the door.
During the time I had found out I was a Step-Mom I also found out my son had a Step-Mom. In some way this woman I had never met became a Step-Mother with me, we’d both been all along but the piece that made us so was missing. As one child was being sent to me, I was sending my child to her and this simple odd shifting of pieces would change all of our lives.
The word “Step-Mother” makes me cringe. Besides the 1998 movie “Stepmom” with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, every movie about Step Mothers depicts them as evil ignorant beings that seek out to ruin the child’s life forever, or kill them. They’re aliens in disguise, monsters in human skin and my Step Mother hadn’t painted a better picture for me. Using that word doesn’t make me feel so great. All I can think of is that this little boy will one day look at me as some demonic June Cleaver. When I have to make the phone calls and I say the word, Step Mom, I can sense the person on the other line squint as if a fast ball just barely missed them. Afterward I would spend most of the time trying to appear unnecessarily perfect as to offset the bad taste in my mouth.
It would take my son’s Step-Mother to change the way I had felt. He had first gotten to meet them in March of last year and then through that following summer. The kindness she bestowed upon him and the welcoming she greeted this new change, not only for him but I as well, seemed to dissolve the ugliness I felt at that word. I couldn’t look at this woman who had become Step-Mother’s with me as what I had felt in my heart I appeared to be and this somehow removed the feeling altogether. I was already a wonderful Step-Mother, I just needed to feel as though the world wasn’t looking at me as though I were a cannibalistic creature sent from Mars. I had to get used to the idea, I suppose, that perhaps he won’t ever have affections for me as a parent but at least he won’t think I’m trying to eat him.
|Artist – Matteo Maculotti|
We’re moving into a new house as I had said in a previous post. I’ve picked up things here and there that remind me of him. We have a Pixar’s Cars bed-set since that is his favorite movie and when I grab $1 clothes for my boys I always get him his own. I keep toys hidden away that he may be interested in and there are movies that no one watches sitting in a cabinet unopened because he may like them. We have so much room in our hearts for him, in our home and some day I hope that maybe he’ll be able to walk through the door with his little bag and his SpongeBob SquarePants cup in his Pixar’s Cars sneakers and stay for awhile. I’ll get on to him about being quiet during quiet time and how he needs to eat all of his dinner or he won’t get any ice-cream, I’ll try to explain how the television doesn’t work like a DVD Player and I can’t make whatever he wants to watch play on command. I know he’ll look at me with that look that says, “You aren’t my Mommy.” And I’ll say, “I know, I’m your Step Mother.” and this time I’ll be a little more proud of the title. I promise.
Authors Note: I wrote this after finding out that my step-son is safe. Upon hearing this news it took all the will in me to not break down in tears. I thought about when I first became a Step-Mom and the fears that came with it. Being a Step Parent isn’t always easy as I know from having them; I had never made it easy on mine. But it shouldn’t be seen as something horrible rather than different; it is in some ways one of the most special gifts you could give or receive. I wrote this for Laura.