Children dream of what they’ll do when they grow up and their dreams are generally big. One thing no one ever dreams of growing up and being is a stepparent. Children are likely to answer the question, what do you want it to be when you’re big? with: a dentist, a doctor, a fireman, a farmer, a superhero, a mum or a dad possibly, but never a stepparent.
Being a stepparent is a role filled with many different emotions like frustration, anger, joy, heartache, happiness, and sadness. This range of emotions, I can only assume, is much like that of a “real” parent.
I met my stepson when he was four. He doesn’t remember a time when I haven’t been around. Meeting him for the first time was nerve-racking even though we were best friends instantly. We laughed smiled and had fun. We hugged, kissed, and held hands. We played games and were a team. It was me and him against his Dad. Me and him playing tricks on Dad. Me and him baking and playing. He would come and stay every weekend and all of the school holidays. He adored being with his Dad but he also loved spending time with me, too. He loved his “weekend” family.
I was the next best thing to a mum. His dad invited me to be a part of his life and I was honored. I washed, cooked, cleaned, played, baked, and cared for him as a “real” mother would. It would be me he would wake in the night when he couldn’t sleep or had a bad dream or felt ill. I loved my new role.
His mother didn’t always make life easy for us. She was angry and was trying to protect her son and herself. Although we didn’t always like each other, we all very much loved him and only ever wanted what we thought was best for him.
When he was eight, four years after we met, his Dad and I made the difficult decision to move. Not just down the road, but to a new country in a new continent in a completely different time zone. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was a decision that we were confident would be the best for all of our futures. We both got new jobs and asked, begged, and pleaded that he come with us. Understandably, his mother said no. It was hard for everyone but hardest for him. However, after 18 months of heartache for everyone, my stepson came to live with us to start a new life thousands of miles from home.
After the excitement of its newness had worn off, it became clear that sacrifices had to made by everyone and we all…