I didn’t meet my son, Logan, in the traditional way. I did not give birth to him. I never nursed him or changed any diapers. I didn’t see his first steps or first words. I met him when he was seven. I had been dating his dad and they decided to come over to my house and make me dinner.
The cooking was done mostly by Jeff. I sat out side with this eclectic little boy who wore moon boots despite the fact that it was the end of July. We got to know each other in the style of a child; favorite color, favorite food, how old are you, etc. Him and I sat on the porch while his dad cooked and just like that, our bond began to form.
That summer, my work schedule left me in charge of taking the kids while Jeff worked. It was perfect, it gave us time to get to know each other. The girls and him had similar histories. All of their parents made terrible decisions that ended in a fear and pain that none of them quite remember. They all have one parent that disappeared from their life. And they all had one parent that stepped up and decided to improve themselves and the lives of their kids, something Jeff and I are still working on.
Initially, I stood in the background. I knew that Logan had a mother that was not me, and if a woman tried to take my role, it would not end well for her. But as time moved on, I could see that me stepping into that role was vital. I remember then first time he called me mom. We were camping and I had given him a beer to give to him dad. He handed it to Jeff and said “Mom told be to give you this.” Everyone stopped and looked at him, to which he replied, “what? Shes my mom too.” And then he was so. I grew a love for him as deep as I have for my own girls. I have always raised him as if he were my own. I take him to the doctor when he’s sick, I discipline it when he needs it, I have helped him through issues that have come up, and I have always tried to show him I love him.
The truth is, however, being a step parent can be a thankless job. He loves me, but his young mind and heart idolize him biological mom. I understand, but it is frustrating. I have been the one who has held him when he has cried because she didn’t show up. I have heard him get excited so many times about her promises only to find out that they aren’t going to happen. It gets to see her every other weekend, providing she doesn’t have other plans or gets sick. He used come home crying because he missed her. I attempted to involve her more, she was not interested most of the time. At times I asked for help financially. This always ended in a tantrum and her accusing me of wanting all of her money. I guess her thirty some dollars a week in child support should cover it. At one point, she told Logan that they could not do anything because she had to give his dad all of her money.
Over the years, we have gotten two sides of Logans mother. One that was reasonable and seemed to put him first. The side that he has seen more often, the one that loves him and claims to have the desire to do anything for him. And there is the side that Jeff and I see more often. The selfish, narcissitic side. The side that loves him at her convience. The side that has told me that she only wants to see him twice a month. The side that is detacthed and only seems to know him as the three year old little boy that she left behind. This is not an easy thing for me to accept or understand. I could never imagine treating my kids the wasy she treats him and it infuriates me.
But the truth is, she is a huge part of his story. I respect that. I have to appreciate the gift that she has given to me. She has let me be his mother and love him like my own. I have always called the shots and she has allowed it. So while she has frustrated me by how she treats him, she has stood back and allowed me to fill the void. I don’t know if its because she cannot do it, or doesn’t want to. It doesn’t matter, all that matters is that I love that boy and I will do anything I have to do for him. I will teach him to be a man, protect him and keep him safe. I know at some point, his maturity level will pass hers. I know that someday, he will see her true colors. I know that she could break his heart into a million pieces. And that will be a terrible thing to see him go through. But like every other time that boy has needed his mama, I will be there. And he will survive and become a better man for it.