Started thinking about this since my Saturday post. Compared to the step-mom my daughter was given and by default I had to deal with-- I'm an absolute dream! Or as my son Jax always says when we tell him what a great kid he is, the bar wasn't set very high to being with.
The reality for the two mom's who won the lottery with me as a step-mom to their kids never had a bar set. Yes, Bitty had Greta before me, but for a short time frame. So I'm kinda like her first real pony ride out of the barn. Greta, I'm her first step-mom and since she doesn't have anything to compare me too, she probably could send some suggestions my way. As for me, I think that I'm a pretty good step-mom to Jax and Little Hart and not so great with my three older kids. When you average it out I'm probably somewhere in the middle. Not the best nor the worst.
The situation with Little Hart and Greta got me thinking. Why didn't I do something- scream or do something with the news -- I see a problem here! The conclusion: until both Greta and Little Hart acknowledged it was really an issue - was it in fact one or was I simply making it one based upon my step-daughter's feelings and what I thought I knew looking from the outside in?
When Elle was in 1st grade, Malus, Elle's step-mom, lured me to having coffee with her to work on "becoming friends" and work out our differences. I remember entering the coffee house, getting my cup of jo (in a paper cup - it will be relevant soon enough) and sitting across the table from her. She started off, Lisa. (long pause) You:
- abandoned your child as a baby when you went back to work after she was born
- abandoned your child when she was a toddler when you were at your dying brother's bedside, ignoring your child at home
- abandoned her when you divorced Dick
You're lucky we still let you see Elle! I sat across from her in complete shock. Numb. Then my mind kicked in:
- went back to work because I was the breadwinner
- spent 30 days with my brother who died from a rare form of cancer; can never talk or see him again
- divorced Dick because he's well a Dick
I stood up. Hands shaking, lips quivering, tears streaming down may face. Yelled at the top of my lungs - YOOOU BITCH!!! Threw my coffee at her and left. Last time I ever agreed to have coffee with her. Strangely enough she continued to lobby me to join her again. Not my proudest moment, but looking back at the situation I would do it all over again.
That encounter ingrained in me, what does a step-mom really know about the Mom? Malus, was convinced that my abandonment was a given. I never considered it then or now that any one of my choices in life constituted me abandoning my child nor does Elle. Other than that what do I care?
Now when I look back at Little Hart and Greta's situation, my own experience stopped me from saying something, jumping in to save the day. It wasn't a reality until both of them said it was. What facts did I really have: the feelings my step-daughter expressed? And the nagging underlying current; for someone to know you, you have to let them in. Even now knowing that it was felt on both sides, it wasn't for me to do anything other than support their relationship in the paths open to me.
As step-moms we have to stop and think before we come blazing in to save the day. Maybe there isn't a day to save and if there is, it isn't for us to save!