With things in such a difficult place for us, my head is spinning. I don’t really know what the future holds, but I do know this… these 3 boys count on me to be there for them, and that means everything me. I could distance myself, but I don’t want them to know there’s stuff going on between their dad and me. So we hold serve, we keep rolling, and I try to cherish the good moments. All the uncertainty aside, it was a wonderful weekend with the kids. We went to a Halloween party as a family and my best friend tells me that Reegan referred to me as “his mom”. Said his dad was dressing up as mustard and his mom was dressing up as ketchup. Really? Well, I’ll be d*mned… Me, being the cynical person I am, wonders if the ex asks them to call her husband their dad and that’s how this comes about. There have been a few references from school in the last two years where they refer to “My dad” and it kind of seems like they might be talking about their step dad. One even last week from Reegan about the 6 people in their house (that doesn’t appear to be our house). But I digress… it does mean he sees me as his family. And that tugs at the heart strings. As I struggle to navigate the path ahead, I will always remember that. And the times the kids want me to read to them or scratch their backs or go in the car with me or play a game… there were a lot of those wonderful moments. I am trying to live in those moments. Family trick-or-treating tonight with (of course) ex drama… and we try to make it the best we can for the kids. I had a lot of people refer to me as a parent this weekend (as if some of them know what’s going on). Those are, funnily enough, the moments where I feel like a parent. Where I just put the kids first. No thought, it just is. And that is also something I will always take with me.
My blog got sideswiped and may not continue much longer. Curtis and I are at a crossroads. We’ve realized we are on different sides of the ‘more kids’ discussion and I’ve realized he doesn’t trust me. Some of his concerns are warranted… I probably will want to have a say of how much involvement his parents have with a baby. True story. We have very different views on family and very different family dynamics and I like my space. Some of it is residual damage from his ex. He is afraid that I’ll do what she did. I’m not her. And it hurts so much that he can look at me and say that he’s a man who doesn’t want to have a child with me. And it hurts even more that it’s based on a ‘what if’ scenario that might not even happen. The breakup might not happen, and there’s no evidence that he will have the same problems if we do breakup. It’s a double ‘what if’. What if we breakup and what if I’m a total b-iatch about it? All evidence points to me not being like that at all.
So, I’m struggling right now. What does this all mean for me? What does it mean for my relationship with these kids? In my desperation to be a parent, what about these kids – my step kids? I love these kids and I will lose them, too. And that’s one of my greatest fears, losing them down the road. But I already know that my relationship with them, as wonderful as it can be, does not replace my need to be a parent. I am being torn apart inside right now. It looks like, once again, I simply can’t have it all. I have to choose.
I thought it was over, I thought we were done. Curtis has decided to seek counselling to help him work on his trust issues. So now I wait… again… for how long, I don’t know. I can already feel myself pulling away from the kids and from him. Things before this conversation were pretty wonderful – and may never be the same again – but I think about being a mother every, single day. On the other hand… what will I tell my family? Will everyone hate me again? Will I let them down? My friends have all been completely understanding, which is nice. And they all seem supportive of letting Curtis try therapy.
So… I don’t know… My head is spinning as I try to process all of this. The kids come home tonight so for a few days we’re going to act like there’s nothing wrong, but I don’t know if we’ll ever be what we were. And, at the same time, that’s probably a good thing because if we can get through this we will be better. I have to hope that the counselling will help him deal with his ex issues and really have a future with me. It’s equally possible that he’ll discover he doesn’t want kids for real. Or that I’m not right for him. It’s sad and scary times right now. Sad and scary times. Very appropriate for Hallowe’en.
It’s funny sometimes how different things are from one day to the next. Tuesday felt so much like my old life. I went to rehearsal, I went home, I did the dishes, I made my lunch, I walked the dog, (I woke Curtis up to come upstairs), I went to bed. Then yesterday… yesterday was a good day… I won yesterday. I stayed home sick (hoping it’s just a bad cold) and the kids got off the bus… and they listened, they were really good, which is extra good because I did not have the energy to fight with them. But the most wonderful thing happened… both Reegan and Taitum wanted me to read to them. And that’s not totally unusual, but I needed that yesterday. And I have to admit that there was a little bit of satisfaction that it’s because Daddy always falls asleep (because that drives me nuts). I’m never going to be the most fun, I’m never going to be their mom… but I want them to know they can count on me. That felt like a win to me. Even being sick… it was a good day. Today is D-Day for us… today is the day we’re supposed to decide our future. We’re supposed to decide if we’re on the same page about having more kids. We’re not going to have that conversation until after we go away this weekend, but on the heels of such a good day, it’s crazy to think that it’s actually all very precarious. One thing I’ve learned in my time is a step-parent is to appreciate the good days. So that’s future Katrina’s problem. Today is a good day.
September 15, 2016
There are times when being a step-parent is just So. Damn. Hard. In a way that you can’t understand unless you, too, are a step-parent. Traditional parents, the Moms and Dads of the world just can’t inherently get it. It’s a constant struggle to find your place, which is more of a moving target than a tidy place on a shelf. You love these kids like they’re your own and you try to see these little people who already have a mom (or a dad) as your family when they don’t see you that way. Mom is family, Dad is family, Grandma and Grandpa are family, maybe an aunt or an uncle… But you, you have a category all to yourself. And you’ll never be as cool as Dad or as good at making owies go away as Mom. And sometimes that’s a really good thing. There’s no one like you. You can be more of a friend than a parent. And then there are times it sucks. It sucks balls. There are times that it is heartbreaking in a way that makes you wonder why you try so damn hard all the time to make the kids happy, to give them a good life, to be a parent… And if you’re one of the lucky ones, the kids will grow up and see all that you did for them and they’ll love you as another parent. The majority of us, I suspect, will try our hardest yet always remain 3rd tier. But there is always hope that you will be one of the lucky ones. So we keep trying, and we keep having our hearts broken, and we wonder why we try so hard. Tonight I don’t have an answer for that.
October 18, 2016
It’s been a little over a year since I step(ped) into the lives of these three boys. 13 months that we’ve been a household. Perhaps less since we’ve felt like a family. I wrote that last note just before we hit the One Year mark. The time where it’s official. And totally not. I read a post recently that spelled it out perfectly. It said that my “Instafamily” is not really an instant family. Building those relationships takes time. And there are days where I feel like I’m getting there. And days where it feels so far away. I included that in my first post because it’s what inspired me to start this. To write down all these new confusing things I’m feeling. To maybe find others who feel the same.
I finally feel like I’m getting to the point where I can handle being a step-parent and being myself. I’m getting back into my hobbies. I can handle Curtis’ hobbies and his fire-fighting. Last night felt like a parenting win. Ok, so the kids got to bed a little later than normal, but I did it all myself. Curtis had a fire call. The kids and I had some quality movie time (with a movie I started picked to watch with kids and that they WANTED to keep watching the next day). Reegan read all his books, I got all the lunches made, all the clothes picked out, I found where Taitum lost his shoes… I did it all myself. I even got to watch the end of the Jays game. And through all those amazing wins, I still felt the huge hole that if something happened to Curtis at that fire, I would lose these kids and all I’ve been trying to bill. It all feels so tenuous. It’s hard to bond with them when it all feels so temporary. Like it could all be pulled away in an instant. As I literally struggle to breathe with the cold Taitum gave me, I figuratively try to remember to breathe and take in the good moments. And try not to obsess over the definition of family and having a child of my own.