Neither of us planned this. I never asked for my family to fall apart and for my Dad to move out. I never asked for a new woman in his life, someone who made peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches differently, who doesn’t know I don’t like the door all the way closed at night and for a different woman too hug and kiss my father. I didn’t ask for this but this is my new life. You married my father and you’ve started a new family. Now there is a whole and complete family that lives at your house…I mean, our house. Is it still my house if I only live there four days a month? Because when you decided my room was going to be the baby AND my room it made me feel like you didn’t actually want me there anymore. Having a new baby sister was my birthday wish for the last 10 years come true. Except for the part about how she’s really my Dad’s daughter and I’m just the daughter that comes and visits a couple times a month, at least that’s how you make me feel. The names “Mom” and “Dad” are now both echoed through the house even though they aren’t said by me. When it was just my brother and I, it felt like you both couldn’t wait for us to come visit…you made us feel that your life must literally stop when we left to go back to Mom’s. But now when we leave, it feels like nobody notices we are gone…you have your family still intact even if we aren’t there. You called my sister an only child to that friend you saw at the grocery store. Do you not think of me as her sister? The truth is, you didn’t choose me but we now belong to each other. We are family. I may not have been the daughter you dreamed of and my face may remind you of a woman who shared a previous life with your husband, but I am my father’s daughter and that can’t be undone.
I know this isn’t what you would have chosen. I know your dream-man and your fairytale future didn’t include two children from another woman. I know you didn’t ask for frustrating schedules, weekends of driving, co-parenting with a woman you wish didn’t exist and knowing a piece of your husband’s heart is always missing when his children are away. I know you wanted your daughter’s birth to be the first time both you AND your husband experienced such a miracle. That you wanted her first step, her first words, her first everything to be his firsts as a father too, and not the third. But is it fair to resent a 10 year old girl? Is it fair to make her feel the underlying tension? Are you going to make her feel like a guest in your house for the rest of your life? Did she ask for this? No, I didn’t. I realize you didn’t, but please remember I didn’t either.
When you sent out the Christmas card of your daughter and didn’t include my brother and I, it hurt more than words can even say. You put her name, your name and my father’s. But what about us? Are we not part of the family too? Did you know how much it would hurt when you mailed it to us at our mother’s? How every time I looked at my sister’s precious smile it made a part of me ache and that ache hasn’t stopped. I used to save and collect the holiday cards. But I never could bring myself to hoard those ones.
Years and years have passed. We are both grown women now. Sometimes I can’t even imagine how you could have treated that sad little girl in such a way. I try so hard to put myself in your shoes. To think how I would feel if I were you. I get it. I really do. But can we put this to rest? I have children now and they love you as a grandmother. I make sure they know you are my bonus mom - the extra mom I was lucky to get in my life. Are they not your grandchildren? They love you without conditions, will you love them unconditionally too? Because I’m so afraid to open them up to that hurt, I never want them to feel like you don’t want them to belong to you.
The holidays bring us all together. Please hear me when I say, despite it all, all the hurt, I love you. We didn’t choose each other, but you are the icing on the cake of my life who gave me an amazing little sister and brings my father love and happiness. No matter what happens, I always try again to make you love me. I always will. I hope one day you will love me the way I have always hoped you would.
Q&A From the Judge's Bench™: Does it Reflect Poorly on the Mother in Court for Refusing to Have any Communication with the Stepmom?
Question from a Reader:
My partner and I currently have full custody of my stepdaughter and I am the primary caretaker as my partner is often at work. I speak with my stepdaughter's teacher regularly, I take her to after school activities, and sometimes doctors appointments. I recently reached out to the Bio Mom on a few occasions to update her with school information and a doctor’s appointment. I also try to open up communication by sending an email based around my step daughter's well-being and expressing some issues that were brought forward by her therapist. I view this as just trying to establish some form of a relationship, but we've recently received a letter from her lawyer, indicating that she will only communicate with my partner when it comes to her daughter. I respect that is her choice, I was just wondering if the Bio Mom’s refusal to communicate with me, would reflect poorly on her in court when it comes to our upcoming custody and child support case?
I have lots of feelings about Mother’s Day. I am always blown away by how emotional I am on this day. Just to be clear, I don’t have a traumatic history with Mother’s Day. I have friends who have lost mothers, whether they have passed away or were never present or simply too mentally unstable and unable to parent. I have friends who’ve adopted. I have friends who can’t get pregnant and desperately want to. I know this day is fraught with emotion. I have a wonderfully supportive, kind, fun, fiercely loyal mother. She’s given me some of the best parts of me. I love her dearly and always try to do something nice for her on Mother’s Day if we’re able to be together. This year was a fun card, wild flowers (purchased not picked!), pedicures followed by lunch with my other siblings. She sent me photos throughout the week as the flowers continued to bloom into different stages. A happy memory yet still, I moped.
One of my favorite things about hanging out with my step kids is listening to their unique take on life. From Listening to the 11-year old’s opinion on the presidential candidates, to some really awesome conversations with the teenage girls about what they are imagining for their future, I always walk away having learned something from seeing through their eyes.
Recently I was listening to the kids all talk to each other about their friend groups at school. Maddie (14) made a comment about being in the “kids of divorced parents” group. I asked her what that meant. She explained to me that meant that she was part of a group of kids at her school who could relate to all the emotional and logistical complications of having parents who were no longer together. Kids with “intact” families just didn’t get it.
Hello, my name is Laura Young and I am Co-founder of X2X, Inc. We are working really hard to produce a product for separating and divorced families that will bring all the chaos to a more than manageable level. While all that is in production, we will continue to discuss important topics on the blog. ON THAT NOTE if there is a specific topic that you would like to see addressed, please get in touch via the comments section, or in the Contact tab.