Out of Step Mothering

I just watched this wonderful video of Jada Pinkett talking with her mother, daughter, and the three of them watching a video of Jada talking to her stepson’s mom. It was beautiful; the revelations; shared experiences; varying perspectives. I was in tears. It also got me to thinking about my own role as a step-mother.

Most people who read my blogs, listen to my podcast, or follow my IG know that I’m a Mom. It’s a dream come true for me to be able to raise this feisty little girl who makes my heart melt with a simple glare. However, she wasn’t the first child I loved. Of course I love all the children in our family. That includes my husband’s eldest.

The relationship is complicated to say the least. She’ll probably never understand why I love her so much. I’ve always known her. I met her mother when she was still carrying as at the time I was a friend. Horrible, I know, I married my friend’s baby daddy. That’s just what it looks like on the surface though. Actually, I was friends with him before being introduced to her and the winding road that led to us being together culminated with me marrying my best friend.

Still, there was a child in the mix. I don’t think any of the adults (including myself) handled the complex dynamics really well. To some degree, we were all stuck in our heads and emotions. My voice was silenced. I silenced it. Probably overdid it with the whole not my place thing. Had I spoken up, perhaps we all would’ve hashed it out. Said what we were thinking, acknowledged each other’s pain, and found a way to forgive each other. Instead, I played the background, with a tempered love, one that had to be managed and careful not to overstep.

Over a decade later and baby girl is all grown up and I feel out of the loop. Sure I talk to her from time to time, checking in on her, but I wish there was more. Over the years I’ve sent gifts but seldom able to give her my time. My daughter has only met her sister once and it was at an age she won’t recall.

Watching the video of these women exploring their truths made me want to stop hiding mine. The little girl that I used to baby talk with, who used to want me to chase her around the house, who doesn’t make me cringe when she calls me by my first name, is an adult now. She’s beautiful in looks and spirit and she’s got her head on right. Her mom and stepfather did an amazing job raising her. She never needed me, but it doesn’t make me regret not finding a way to be there in case she did.

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