Monday, April 3, 2006

StepMother May I?

Children are funny.
Just when you think you are the worst Parent in the World, they unknowingly give you that much needed pat on the back that reassures You they are indeed thriving on the stucture and stability that You work so hard to provide them.
I recently attended an Open House at Cinderella's school.
It was important for Me to go to this event. It had been a difficult few weeks and I felt that our relationship had slipped a little. I wanted to be There to reinforce my commitment to being an active participant in Her day-to-day activities.
Would it be OK if I go?
Sure if You want. I was going to ask Daddy is The Boy could come but if you want to be there too that would be OK.
Her ambivilance takes me by surprise but it quickly forgotten once we arrive at Her school.
Throughout the entire tour, Cinderella speaks directly to Me. She excitedly shows me her school work, papers, drawings. I try to stand off to the side so Hubby and BioMom could see her desk. Still, she seeks me out, proudly holding up Her work for Me to see.
Walking through the halls She provides me with a running commentary on her school - from the classrooms to hall decorations.
The more I try to step aside, the more she tries to draw Me back in.
Throughout most of the evening She does not direct her comments to her Mom. Instead, She cranes her neck around her Mother or through the crowd of children so she could continue her dialogue with Me.
I suddenly realize Cinderella isn't the only one putting the focus on Me. Her teachers are directing much of their comments to Me as well.
She's working really hard on not calling out in class. I know it's a problem for Her but she's putting in a great effort and I try to reward Her as much as I can for a job well done.
BioMom sees this discussion taking place and decides to join her Teacher and Me.
I begin to avoid eye contact with the Teacher in the hopes that she will direct her comments to BioMom.
I want to reassure Her that I am not trying to take Her place or play Mommy.
Still the Teacher continues to address me.
That's why I sent her Home with the certificate because she tried really hard that day...
Oh, when was this. Recently??
I can feel the uneasiness in BioMom's voice. She is feeling left out. Like she has missed out on something.
Oh, She only just brought it home yesterday.
I hope my words reassure Her but I am doubful.
I participate in the conversation less, delaying my responses to the Teacher. I look to BioMom to respond.
Still the Teacher talks to me.
Could the Teacher have mistaken you for her Mom? My Mother plays devil's advocate.
There is no confusion as to who I am. The teachers know of our situation all-to-well.
And if there was doubt, BioMom made sure everyone knew that she was "THE MOM."
She introduced and re-introduced herself as such to Anyone who would listen that night.
It was during this conversation with Her teacher that I was brought back to Cinderella's Communion luncheon a year ago.
I was the one she turned to when it came time to order.
Can I have the burger for lunch?
And then for her beverage.
Can I have a Sprite?
I counted 6 instances during the course of Her meal where she asked Me for permission.

She was sitting directly next to BioMom.
I was sitting directly next to Hubby.
And still she deferred to Me.
It wasn't until the sixth time during this lunch that it dawned on me that Hubby or BioMom might be bothered by this although neither had said anything.

Can I have dessert?
Babe, why don't you ask Mommy or Daddy? It's not up to just me.
BioMom flashed a look that said You''s.not.up.toYOU.

Sometimes I wonder if I am too hard on Cinderella. I wonder if I am just trying to provide a structured environment or punishing her out of some misguided anger.
And yet, She still looks to me to offer feedback, praise or give permission. And somehow Her teachers have picked up on my influence in Her life.
I guess I have my answer.
Children thrive on structure. They crave stability.
Cinderella can count on Me for that.


Dolfinnlover said...

I can really relate to all of what you just posted down to the I am the mom thing...Cinderella is probably very happy that you are involved, she sees you as a vital part in her life!

Karna said...

I have experienced the samt thing with my stepchildren. The oldest, that just recently have hit puberty, asks me a lot of questions about what is happening to her body and why.
Both girls asks me for permission to do thing and so on.
But they both know that they can count on me not letting everbody know what they told me. Something they can´t do when it comes to Biomom.

But be proud, you´re an important adult in this girls life and she values your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot!
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