Long ago, in a town far, far away from here...I met and married a man who had two children.
I became a step-mother.
You can approach this very delicate position in life a few ways... they are his kids, you see them rarely, you don't get involved, they are the bane of your existence, take away time from your new spouse, money from your pocket, create chaos in your new life, when your own children come along, there is trouble there...the list is endless.
It's one reason more second marriages fail than first ones.
I went into it the way I go into most things in my life...I jumped than looked around. I married a family, not just a man. Let him deal with the ex, although I did my fair share of that...and her husband! Oy! That's a book in itself... he wanted nothing to do with those kids once they had their own... again, a book in itself, and there is a nice bed in hell where he rests now.
I married a man who had two children, the Slumlord, so named because he owns more than one home...the second bought to give his sister a place to settle and have her child, and MissH.
She was two when we married... one when we started to date. She had these big blue eyes and curly blonde hair and a huge mouth. Huge. Like her dad, you never offer MissH a bite of anything, or you are left with nothing.
I used to stand and rock her to sleep, holding her close.. she had speech problems, ones no one would address, so, the wicked step-mother took her and had her tested. I was cursed roundly by her mother...it was worth it. She got the therapy she needed, and finally, and the age of three, she was able to talk enough that you could understand her.
I felt this way...they never came for visitation, they came home. I never spoke about their mother in a negative way...well, I slipped on occasion, but, it was home they came to... they shared rooms with their siblings, they had their clothes, they were treated no differently. Life went on, only in two houses. I refused to let guilt step in. Your parents are divorced? Big deal, so are mine.
She called me 'Mom' from the age of three.. and if you ask about her mom, she will talk about me. Their natural mother gave up custody when she was ten, and didn't see them for five years.. see the step-father comment...so, I guess that's what I became.
She has a big booming laugh, worries about everyone, has a head like a rock, can cuss like a sailor. I worry about her, we all do...and now she carries my first grandchild. She asked, "What do you want to be called?" and in my complete weirded out of being that old, I suggested 'Miss Quin'.
That didn't fly.
We settled on Nonnie. I wanted MawMaw... it's not done in Denver.
She has a mouth that holds a smile that goes on forever...it is surrounded by masses of tiny dimples. She is short, the shortest of my babies...next to TheInvestment and his 6'5"ness, she almost disappears. She has grown into a good woman, who will take over my reins eventually...but, for awhile...oh, for awhile, she was my wild child.
I remember at one point, every man she dated was arrested for something. I said, "Do you go to the Post Office and pick them off the wall?" She had no self-esteem... her search for a man to love her for her was long. She is beautiful, but thought the way to get a man was to be flashy and trashy, and that is how she was treated.
It took her to realise she was a woman, and beautiful inside and out to change her. I still worry about her, but, she's settled now, focused on her life, on her baby, on being a good mother.
She adored her siblings when they arrived...and HRH was her personal toy. She was my little girl always, I simply can't remember not having her, to the point I went into a guilt rant once, and said...
"All those hours of lab..."
She cut me short..."Mom, wrong kid."
No, I didn't labour to have her, we laboured other ways, to build our relationship as parents and children do...
She is not bone of my bone, nor blood of my blood, she was not born beneath my heart, but, in it.
Happy Birthday, Miss H.
I love you forever.