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How I Got Here and Who I Am

There is a lot of almost in step-parenting. And I am almost a step-mom. I am not sure I like the whole idea of being a "step". I have been stepped on. It hurt. I don't want to be the expendable one, the one always wondering if the love is conditional or unconditional, the add-on, the black sheep, the person being blended into a blended (or not-so-blended) family.

I am a historian by profession and I like the history, the etymology, of the word. Old English used the word steop for orphan. In that world, it would mean that step-mom would be someone who took care of an orphan, someone who married a widower, someone who stepped up. There are versions of this same connotation in Old German and in Norse (stiuf and stjup respectively). That I can wrap my head around, the idea of a step mom as a woman who stepped up. The woman who helped the kids step up to the next level. The woman that forced the ex-wife step up her lazy parenting game. I like that version. I have always been a retro girl in a modern world.

That is where I am coming from. That is who I am. I dive head first into every single thing I do. I do it all. I don't "kinda" parent because I don't "kinda" do anything. My kids (I know they aren't mine but they feel like they are) therapist was once sitting down with me, my fiance, and his ex-wife to help us sort something out and he said, "Well I will let you all go because I know you (looking at my fiance) are tired after a long day at work, and I know you (looking at the ex-wife) are probably busy, and you (looking at me), well, you are just a ball of energy so I am sure you have 100 more things you want to get done today." My fiance turned to him and said "shes just a ball of fire".

There is so much step taboo in our world today. Evil stepmothers in movies, the whole idea of the other woman, the idea that simply by giving birth you have some special trait that makes you better than any other woman on the planet. Its societal, I think, since I have done nothing short of be an ideal stepmom since I fell in love with my fiance and yet STILL I am judged. I do not know how to get away from that but I think positive word choice matters. My fiance and the kids celebrate me on Mother's day. I refer to the children as "my" and "our" kids even when it is hard. As hard as it could be for any parent to share their parenting role with another human, we make choices (and sometimes choices are made for us) that make that a reality in today's world. And, in my opinion, any parent worth their salt would learn to move on and get over it because you have MORE PEOPLE LOVING THE KIDS!  How could that ever be a bad thing?

There is a lot of almost in step-parenting. You almost feel like a real parent. You almost have legal ties to the kids. You almost feel like you are influencing small humans so that they grow to be amazing, kind, and brave. You almost fill the empty holes in your heart. But how do you do it all for kids while still feeling the almost when you are the kind of person who doesn't settle for things like "almost"?

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