I’ve been in the lives of my stepsons for 6 years, since they were three and eight years old. Leading up to my marriage to their father, I worried how I would explain my role in their lives.
What would I say when they asked questions? What would I do when I heard a defiant “You’re not my, mom!” from one of them. Would they accept me?
Now six years later, I’ve learned to worry less and just go with the flow. The answers seem to come when they are needed.
The first time I got, “You’re not my mom!” It was meant to challenge my right to tell them what to do.
I said, “You’re right, I’m not. I can never take her place and I would never try. I’m just another person God put in your life to help take care of and raise you. I’ll be here for you as long as I need to be.” God gave me lots of help. I had my mom, parents at the children’s home, foster parents. Some of us just need more help, and God sends what we need. They seemed to accept that. It hasn’t come up again.
The first time I got, “But mom, does it this way.” It was from the youngest, about pudding.
“You’re not supposed to put pudding in the fridge! Mom doesn’t do it that way.” I had to explain, “That’s fine. It’s your mom’s house and she can handle pudding how she wants at her house. I like my pudding cold, so at THIS house, we will put our puddings in the fridge.” He thought about it for a second, said okay, and went back to helping put up groceries.
These moments happen been fewer and fewer as the years have passed, and the need for explaining less and less.
I never hear my oldest explaining. The youngest, though, sometimes has to work it out for other kids. I never know how this will go.
Once on a trip to our favorite swimming hole, he was playing two other little boys along the side of the river, when they decided to go to an area that he was not allowed to go to.
“I can’t go past this tree,” I heard him tell them.
“Ask your mom,” one told him.
“She’s not my mom, she’s my STEPmom!” he yelled.
The boys looked puzzled.
“What’s a STEP mom?” asked one of the boys about 4 or 5 yrs old.
“She’s my other mom, but not my MOM-mom. Not my real mom, but another mom.”
The little boys eye widened, you could see the whites all around as he tried to comprehend. “You have TWO MOMS?!?”
I could hear my stepson, then about 6 years old, trying to explain again, “but not my MOM-mom,” but the little boy wasn’t listening anymore. He’d already taken off running toward his mother.
She was sitting in a camping chair along the bank, not too far away. He ran up and cut into a conversation she was having with another woman, “Mom! Who’s my STEPmom?”
If I’d had a drink I’d have spit it out that second. My mouth dropped. I jumped out of my own camping chair, into the water and made my way toward my stepson as quickly as I could. It’s like I had one eye on the bank watching this woman and one eye on my stepson. I watched her face go from puzzled to taken aback as she loudly told him, “Boy, you A’INT GOT no STEPmom!”
Maybe I should have stuck around and explained the confusion, but I didn’t. I’m not sure how that conversation continued with her son, I hope he pointed to us and said, “But he has one!”
I just don’t know because I’d grabbed my stepson and waded to the other side as quickly as I could.
Here are a few pictures of our favorite spring and summer spot, Blue Springs, FL.