I know that being a parent is hard, but I'm positive that being a step-parent is harder. At least that has been the case for me. As Bugs mommy I get hugs and kisses and adoration. Sure being a parent has challenges, but you get rewarded with so much.
As a stepmother, the rewards are fewer and farther between.
Let me tell you a bit about my stepson and our history. I have been in his life since he was three years old, he is now fifteen.
He is so smart this boy. When he was four his dad said to him "Look there's a shooting star" stepson said "Actually dad, a shooting star isn't really a star. It's a meteor and we can see it because it's burning up in the Earths atmosphere" Yes.. at four!
When he was three he used to say to me.. "Odum... I love you" It would melt my heart. When we would ride in the car he always wanted me to lean my seat all the way back. I would flip my hair over the seat and he would run his little hands through it. It helped him feel safe and comfortable, he had terrible anxiety about being away from his mom. The only time he wasn't with her was when he came to visit hubby and I. So it was very difficult for him.
During a visit with us, about a year into my relationship with hubby, stepson said to me out of the blue "My mom thinks your ugly" My heart sank, I said "Well, what do you think?" He thought about it for a second and said "I don't think your ugly" Ever since that time it has been a struggle connecting with him. He has felt torn between having a relationship with me and not wanting to betray his mom. I have tried not to push anything on him, when he felt more comfortable referring to me as his "step-friend" instead of "step-mom" I didn't mind. I told him he could refer to me however he felt comfortable.
I have struggled to keep in mind that he is a child and only says what he learns at home. I have had a hard time relating to him over the years. The life he lives with his mom and grandparents is very different than the one we live.
Until this year he was home schooled. He struggled interacting with other kids. He would try to parent them and correct them. He was overly mature in ways and under mature in other ways.
Two and a half years ago he moved with his mom and grandparents across the country. Since then we have not seen him often. It is up to us to purchase any and all plane tickets in order to see him and we have to rely on his mom to tell us when she will get him to the airport.
So this brings us to this past week, he flew out for Thanksgiving. He is now in High school now and boy what a change. He was so much more laid back. I wasn't walking on eggshells wondering what he would come up with to complain to his mom about. He was so much better with Bug, he didn't get as annoyed with him. Bug adores him, he wants to be in his face every second when he is here.
In fact if Bug was harassing me while I was cooking dinner, his big brother would come in and entertain him so that I could finish what I was doing.
I had good conversations with him, in depth talks about religion, politics, what he believes in. This boy is not the boy I saw 16 months ago. He is so much more mature. So it's a big huge step in the right direction for our relationship. One that has been a very long time coming.
Here are some pics from his visit.