May 8, 2011

Dearest E.,

I wanted to write today and try to sort out my feelings about being a step-mother and relationship building with step-kids. For me the hardest part of this letter writing project was getting started. Not because I am new to the blogging world. And not because I don't feel like I have enough to say, I love to talk. But because I didn't know how to sign a letter addressed to you. In fact that is one of the reasons I still haven't tried to initiate communication with you through your custodial grandparents. I just don't know where I stand as a step-mom.

Several years ago, before Bean-Dip was in our lives. I thought I understood what it meant to be a step-mom. I had two other kids that I didn't give birth to, but who I loved the same as my own kids. I sent birthday and Christmas presents. I asked about school. I constantly checked the stores for clothes your size to send in my boxes. When your dad and I spoke of you will called you Mija. The distance made it difficult to have a real relationship with you. And Dad's estrangement made it nearly impossible. But I never gave up hope. I continued to send care packages and pictures and hoped that one day your dad and grandma would start speaking to each other again.

The birth of Burrito changed everything. After three years of marriage and now two children Grandma Lala realized that I was around to stay and she began making plans to come and meet her grandchildren. After that a line of communication was open and we began speaking with you on the phone. I learned your favorite color is blue and you hate pink. You loved to scrapbook and dance. And you wanted to be a cheerleader. I packed the perfect birthday box that year and you sent me this picture afterwards. Do you remember?

Everything was so simple.  You were my daughter and I was your new "Mommy."  Unfortunately shortly after Christmas Grandma Lala had her first heart attack and after that visitation was stopped and so did our phone calls.  Suddenly my daughter was gone.  And now I don't even know if you remember me. 

You haven't been forgotten in our house.  Your picture(s) hang proudly on the wall with those of your brothers.  I still check the girls section every time we go to the store and imagine how cute you would look in outfits. I look at my little sister, only one year younger then you and imagine what it would be like if you lived here. At this point my own fear of rejection prevents me from attempting to contact your grandparents. 

Now that I have had a few years to practice being a step-mom to Bean-Dip I have learned so much about what "step" means.  There are good moments, often fleeting.  Times when he forgets and calls me "Mommy."  Times when he accepts when I say "I love you" as I am tucking him in.  But most of the time there are reminders that I am not his mother and never will be.  Times when he corrects people who assume I am his mom in public.  Times when he tells me he hates our house.  They always hurt.  Although I am sure your dad is hurt far more by Bean-Dip refusing to call him Dad and telling him he doesn't have a dad or calling him his step-dad. 

But days like today still hurt.  Mother's Day, the day Bean-Dip went out of his way to remind me I wasn't his mother.  After complaining all weekend about how much better it was being an only child. He spent the morning sulking at our house and literally threw the present he was provided by Dad at me and left the room.  I know he doesn't really hate me.  And I love him and you the same as Taco or Burrito.  That is why it hurts so bad.

With Love,

1 comment:

Mom of 12 said...

I'm so sorry about the pain! It seems like being a mom is filled with pain and joy.
I love you.