Thursday, January 21, 2010

Step Child is an Ugly Word!

Step kids does anybody have them? I've been a step kid so I'm going to talk about being one before I talk about having my own.

My step Dad (see photo on right) was a tough no nonsense, smoking and drinking part time Chiropractor and full time Head of an Ex ray Dept at a Medical facility in Newark, NJ.
He was 14 years older than my mother and had one daughter from his first marriage; she was 27 years older than me. I believe he tolerated my mothers 3 kids because he loved her and he found her extremely gorgeous (see photo on left)!  I was 2 when we met, only dad I ever knew and even though we all called him Jimmy, he was still my dad. I never had the opportunity to meet my biological dad and whenever I asked my mother about him she would freak out!!! She told me he was this crazed, shell shocked soldier of the Korean war.

Dramatically she would say in her heavy NJ/NY accent, "Oh my Gawd if your fawther eva found us he'd kill us awll!" 



Ok, so Jimmy was the only Dad I have ever known I loved him and his daughter endlessly (me,step sister & Jim on right), I thought she was my sister my entire life, she looked just like Marylin Macoo of the 5th Dimension (see photo on left). Then one day it all crashed when my mother died and Jimmy who was suffering from a list of ailments like, Dementia, Prostate Cancer, Emphysema, needed full time care. He took 7 pills a day just to survive and I was his designated caretaker. Until Jimmy decided that his real daughter should take care of him, a family feud began (long horrible story) but, at the end of the day my step sister pulled the biological card and kicked my care-taking behind out on the street!  She horrifyingly said during our family court battle, "My father never legally adopted those children they are not his, so everything he owns is mine!"  In that one moment I realized that after 40 years I was truly just a step child, someone he dealt with because I was my mother's daughter.

I realize today that the word step child, mother, father, son, daughter are just ugly words.  It creates an unnecessary separation for any relationship you are trying to have.  I know, with a 12 year old step daughter and a 21 year old step son, I've been working all their lives trying to not be a step mom but, just their mom.  I don't want to take over or replace their real moms, I just want to love them, yell at them, slap them:) as needed just like I would my biological children.  So, the first thing I need to do is to stop calling them step kids or Hubby's kids and just start calling them my kids!

If you have step children in your life I'd love to hear how your relationship is going or if you'd like to way in your thoughts on the subject please feel free:)

19 comments:

MOMSWEB said...

Hubby had two sons from a previous marriage and received custody of them before we were even a year into our marriage. They were 12 and 15 or something like that. The youngest wanted nothing to do with me being his mother - step or not. It was an extremely difficult situation plus I was younger and not as spiritually strong. He has since passed away, but the oldest and I have a good relationship.

I'm not sure which is more difficult...the step parent role or the step child.

This post stirred some memories I'd like to forget, but the challenges definitely made me stronger. Sigh...

Ms. Wanda said...

Wow, Momsweb Thank you for you comment, sorry to bring up such tough memories. I wrote this post to remember the step parent I don't ever want to be.

xoxoxo
Ms. Wanda

Eva Gallant said...

My husband had a son from a previous marriage and I have 2 sons from a previous marriage. I did not enjoy being a stepmom and never developed a close relationship with his son. Hubby, however, is a much better person than I and always refers to my sons as his and has a decent relationship with them. They are all grown and in their mid thirties now, and our life has been a lot easier since they left home.

ShellSpann said...

I love this. I am a "step child" but my stepdad has always treated me like his own.

I feel very lucky because I know that not everyone has that same situation in a blended family.

I hope that my boyfriend (one day husband) will be the same way with my kids. He is now, and it's wonderful, I just hope it's as awesome as my relationship with my stepdad when they are older.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I felt your pain and joy. You know my story. We will be great moms to all of our kids that God has bless us with and it will all work out.

R.L

Janet said...

I have been a step-child since I was three, and I refer to HER as Step-Monster for good reason. Not a pleasant experience at any stage of my life.

Now I'm living with a man who has two daughters of his own, so the role is switched a little bit. As you said, at least I have a good model of who I DO NOT want to be in this situation!

Ms. Wanda said...

Thank you Ms. Janet;)

Lourie said...

I do not have "step" children, but I say you are right. They should be treated and thought of as your children. I just flashed on one of the first episodes of the Brady Bunch, Bobby was going to run away cause he thought Carol didn't like him. So she decided to run away with him. He questioned her and asked about him being a step child. She said, "The only steps in this house are those!" she pointed to the stairs. What a simply albeit corny way to say you are my child too and I love you.

Ms. Wanda said...

Wow Ms. Lourie I love that!!!

Thank you:)

Adoption of Jane said...

Yeah, Step is a Four Letter Word! Sounds like your doing a great job insuring they know you are there Mother too! *Pat on the Back* to you from me!

Unknown Mami said...

That is a beautiful, thought-provoking post. I'm so sorry that you had to experience any ugliness.

Mocha Dad said...

Having a blended family is difficult. All parties must learn to live together and love each other. Because of hurt felling and trust issues, this is never an easy task.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Sometimes the best way we learn things is by the example of how NOT to do it. I had a lot of examples of bad parenting growing up and must have said a million times, "I'm never going to do that to my kids", and I don't.

JennyMac said...

Love this post and your honesty Ms. Wanda. I have a stepdad and I called him Dad. He was the best thing to happen to our family and I am closer to him than my bio Dad whom I see and talk to frequently.

I ran into friends from high school last summer while in Seattle, I said to one woman, Oh, I didnt realize your brother had a daughter. She said, "She is not his daughter. She is his stepdaughter. Talk about ugly. And mean.

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MplsCathy said...

My husband and I are newly married after seven years of dating. He had a stepdad from the age of 2 who he always considered his dad, he loved him dearly and credits him for the person who he is today. I had the great honor to meet his stepdad early on in our relationship, but he has sadly passed on since then. I am now a stepmom to my husband's eldest daughter who is almost 15. The three of us have all lived together for 2 1/2 years; but our recent marriage really cemented us as a family. Considering the important role that my husband's stepdad played in my husband's life, it seems like being a good stepmom to her is a way to return the kindness, in so many words...I feel like not only is it the least I can do to "do right" by her and her late grandfather, but that it is the path I was chosen for through fate. (I always say yes to positive karma!) The relationship between her and her mom is strained and extremely emotionally painful, so sad. But she has a wonderful relationship with her dad and me, and we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Anonymous said...

My mom and step father began dating when I was 2 years old and finally married when I was 10. The situation is very much like your own- he has a child that is much older than me (though they never had a close relationship) and he is much older than my mother. Throughout my childhood, I always referred to him by his first name although he asked me several times to call him father. I'm not sure what prevented me from doing it, but it always seemed almost embarrassing to call him "Dad" to his face...there was just some sort of mental block. He's paid for basically everything my whole life, from my private education, 2 cars, college, etc. As I've grown older, I've realized that considering he has no biological connection to me, he has been extremely generous. However, the complication is that he and my mother have had three children together, and over the years he has grown colder and colder towards me. I would consider this almost a normal, hard fact of life, except that my mother seems to be doing the same thing! I am currently in college and during my recent break at home, my mother referred to me as "just the step child". It's a harsh reality to come across, especially one that I may have prevented had I had the courage to just call him "dad" so many years ago. Maybe if I had just given him the title that he deserved and wanted so badly, the replacement children wouldn't have been such an intense replacement. I don't know. Either way, your story gave me a little more strength and I thank you for sharing it.

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