I had lunch yesterday with a longtime friend of mine. We met when Elle and her son were in kindergarten together. In the middle of the school year her sister died of cancer and I went up and introduced myself and told her if she ever needed to talk to call that I had lost my brother from cancer 4 years earlier. The rest is history, we're still friends and Little Hart is still close to her kids that are her same age.
My friend, Jen grew up in a blended family and while she spent vacations, weekends - you know the drill -with her bio Dad, but she grew up in her Mom and Step-Dad's Home. She counts her Step-Dad as her Dad because he raised her and even though she loves both of her Dad's, she closer to her Step-Dad. He was there for her growing up. When I talked to her last week to set up our lunch she mentioned that her Dad had pancreatic cancer and wasn't expected to live long. Before I could really say anything she launched into well you know it's my Step-Dad but he's more like my Dad than my actual Dad. I'm closer to him, he raised me, I call him Dad because he is my DAD. I said I know that and I know how important he is to you.
When we met up for lunch she said I'm sorry I launched into my whole thing about my Dad (Step-Dad) you out of everyone know what I am talking about. Just because a parent has the title of Step-Dad or Step-Mom doesn't make them any less important to you. Sometimes they're even more important in your life than your natural parent. I've just been getting strange reactions from people when I say my Dad's dying and when I clarify it's my Step-Dad they kind of discount it like --Oh it's not a big deal he's just your Step-Dad. The insensitive reaction has been really bothering her.
As a step-parent you can feel a lot of the time like you're just not as important to your child or you shouldn't care as much because you didn't give birth to them. In many cases, like me, you a raise your step-kids the same as your own children, they're a major part of your life and they're your child in every sense of the word except that someone else gave birth to them. And yet on many occasions you take a back seat to someone else which I understand being both a Mom and a Step-Mom but neither you nor your kids should feel like they need to take a backseat when it comes to their feelings for you or vice versus. Your love is just the same but with a different title. The majority of us step-parents are not like the fairytales portray-- flat out evil. We love our kids like crazy and they love us back like crazy. Hopefully, as we share our stories with others our kids won't have to experience in their 40's what Jen experienced. They'll get the love and support they need when losing a parent not like they lost their gardner.