Growing up I never thought I’d be a stepmom. I had this vision of what my life and marriage would be like. I thought I’d get married to someone as innocent and as lacking in worldly knowledge as myself. We’d have a couple gorgeous kids. He’d work and I’d stay home until they were in school and then I’d work part time, but still devote most of my life to my kids. We’d go to church every week. I’d make dinner every night, unless it was a special occasion when we’d go out to dinner. We would end our nights, hands held in prayer, and go to sleep at the same time.
Slowly this vision dissolved into real-life and became something I didn’t even want. I didn’t want to sit at home talking baby all day. I didn’t want to spend every night cooking. Sleeping at the same time wasn’t feasible with a husband who worked until 10pm when I had to get up at 5am.
I didn’t expect to date a man 9 years older than me and I definitely didn’t expect to fall head over heels for a child that didn’t come from my own body. I’ve loved children before. I babysat and I have nieces and nephews that I took care of and loved, but nothing prepared me for this. Nothing prepared me for the brown-eyed, gentle-hearted, sensitive, sweet girl who would get jealous when her daddy and I would hug.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with him. I definitely didn’t expect to become a second mom to his daughter. Now here we are almost 9 years later and I would be devastated if I lost either one of them. They are my absolute world. They are what I love most about my life.
It’s not easy though. Being second mom is hard. I can never (and should never) live up to Mom. Mom is the hero in the story no matter what and I’m just a corny sidekick who is along for the ride. I pour my love into this little girl who will never see me with the shiny eyes she sees Mom through.
I should be OK with this because, after all, I wouldn’t want my daughter to love any other woman more than she loves me. But knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. Knowing this doesn’t soften the blow of not getting a (step)mother’s day card even after spending hours upon hours planning and decorating for an elaborate birthday party. It doesn’t help the ache of missing her when I see her for less than 8 hours in a two week period. It doesn’t make anything easier.
I want to be a good stepmom. I sometimes even think I am one. But I also know I’ve been given something most stepparents aren’t given – a good stepchild. You hear horror stories about not getting along and about the kids being brats, but that’s not my life. My stepdaughter is anything BUT a brat. She is funny, sensitive, sassy, creative, competitive, and has a golden heart. It’s easier to be a good stepparent when you have a great stepchild. So why is it so hard?
Maybe it has to do with always being second best. Maybe it has to do with seeing your husband struggle to see his daughter more often and not being given the chance. Maybe it has to do with the injustice and the lying and manipulation and conniving. Maybe it has to do with seeing him hurt. Maybe it has to do with not being given a chance.
My dad always taught me that “life’s not fair, get on the bus.” I guess he was right.