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As a stepmom, I knew that I would have to venture into a lot of
uncharted territory. I knew there would be moments when my mouth would
instantly go dry and uncertainty would cloud my vision. I knew there would
be moments of intense awkwardness at school functions, and I knew that I would
sometimes feel out of place.
It’s part of the package, part of becoming a
stepmother, and I knew all of that. I was as prepared as I could possibly be, because I reminded myself that the
kids come first. Seriously, parents and stepparents: Chant that little line, and
I promise all of your decisions will vanish because there’s only one way to
lucky. Those moments I was so worried about, moments that I would play over and
over in my head as I imagined the worst possible scenario? Those moments did
not last long, and now I don’t even feel like a stepmother!
I didn’t think grammar was going to be my biggest stepmama battle either, but it so is.
the “pronoun” thing.
I know. I
didn’t think grammar was going to be my biggest stepmama battle either, but it so is. It has been the source of many conversations with my husband, David,
and has helped me to pen several thousand words on the topic.
thing: I think of Chloe and Trey as “my” children. I do not think that they are
mine and no one else’s, but I do call them “mine” when talking about them. I do
call myself a parent, and every night I thank God for “our” children.
matter how comfortable it feels and no matter how right I think it is, when we
are out in public I’m quick to make the distinction. And I hate that it even crosses my mind to do
these your kids?” a friend of a friend will ask me at a party.
“Yes! Well …
um, they’re not really mine. I mean,
they ARE, but they’re my husband’s kids. So they’re my stepchildren, but, I mean, I feel like they’re mine, too!”
point, the person has usually walked off while I continue to spin
a web of utter confusion and hope I can get out of it.
It’s not that I don’t want to claim them when we’re out or
that I’m ashamed. I've told my friends before that I always hope Chloe
doesn’t hear me have one of these conversations. I’m terrified that if I say, “Oh, she’s not mine!” when someone asks, she’ll be hurt and remember it in
therapy 20 years later. On the flip side, there have been several times when
I have said, “Yes, that’s my girl on the swings!” and she will bellow from
across the playground, “BUT YOU’RE NOT REALLY MY MAMA, SAAAAAM!”
Those awkward moments I was talking
about having? PRONOUNS, man. I feel as if I’m part of Schoolhouse Rock, waiting
for a cartoon flourish to write "HERS" with an arrow pointing
to Chloe and Trey. I feel as if I’m stuck between The Brady Bunch, where they
all belonged to each other, and Yours,
Mine & Ours, where nobody’s really sure what to say.
The best thing I can think of to say these days
is that I am theirs. Deep in my
heart, I call Chloe and Trey mine. They are my first babies and when we add
more children, they will not be discounted. But in public or around people who
vaguely know the situation? I feel that it’s best to just say I am theirs.