When two people fall in love and get married, there is a good chance that one or the other already has children from a previous marriage, suddenly launching the new spouse into instant parenthood.
Most of the time that works just fine, with the children accepting their biological parent’s choice of a new partner and moving on with life. Too often, however, the children don’t accept the new stepmother or stepfather, which is often made worse by the bitterness of the biological parent’s ex-spouse. To make matters worse yet, the second marriage sometimes doesn’t work and the children are faced with another divorce situation. Not only are the children ripped away from someone with whom they have bonded, the outgoing step-parent is left with no legal rights to the children, whatsoever.
Prior to marrying my late husband of 31 years, I was married to a man who came into the marriage with two young sons. We divorced after five years and because the boys lived with their mother out of state, I lost touch with them. Years went by. My new husband came to me with two sons and we had two sons of our own.
Today, I am blessed to be one of the lucky stepmothers. Nearly 16 months ago, I happily reconnected through Facebook with the youngest of my stepsons from that long-ago marriage. My husband had passed away five weeks earlier and communicating with my stepson again has been one of my greatest joys. Since that first contact, not three days have gone by that he hasn’t checked in on me to see how I’m doing. I remember many years ago, when he leaned over and put his little arm across my waist to save me from falling over the screaming drop of a roller coaster. Today, he’s helping to save me by allowing me to be part of his life again.
When his father and I married, my new stepson was only 12. This year, he looks forward to celebrating his 50th birthday, happily married with two lovely daughters and four beautiful grandchildren. Getting reacquainted has been so much fun. A few weekends ago, he and his amazing wife came to visit me for the first time. When he walked through my front door, I thought my heart would explode. It’s true: there is no such thing as an ex-child.
Now, the only thing I am trying to get used to is filling the gap left by so many years apart. He is no longer a boy with a full head of curly blond hair and a mischievous grin. Even though he is a grown (bald) man, I still see the child he once was. Thankfully, he still has that mischievous grin.
Happy Mother’s Day to all, and if you’re as lucky as I’ve been, Happy “Stepmother’s” Day, too.