It's hard enough raising one teen -- but three?! Welcome to RAZmom88's wild and wonderful life.
We Don't Say the Word "Step" in My Family
Or "half" or "biological." Even though I have two teenagers the same age who are not twins and people sometimes wonder how that could be.
Ryan is my legal stepson and Andrea is my daughter from my first marriage. When my husband, Bryan, and I married, Ryan was 3 and Andrea was 2 and a half. Zack, now 15, is the child we had together.
Neither Ryan nor Andrea remembers a time when we were not a family. They do know their biological parents, and have a relationship with them. Andrea once told her stepdad that he was her real father because he was the one who took care of her every day.
Ryan came to live with us full-time when he was 8. His biological mom loves him, and sometimes I wonder if she isn’t braver than I am. Other times I think she is selfish because when things got hard she "gave him away." I could never give my child to someone else to raise. She knew we could give him a more stable family life, and that a young man needs his father to help raise him into a strong man. I will be forever greatful to her, and because of her I have a wonderful son.
I Ignored My Stepson
My relationship with Ryan hasn’t always been so smooth. Before he came to live with us, I was jealous of him. He had everything money could buy. As I think back, I was very mean to him. Not physically abusive, but I ignored him. I wanted Bryan to love Zack more than Ryan. It’s so hard to explain and even harder to admit.
I can’t say exactly when I truly started to love Ryan as my son. When he was 6, he started calling me "Mom." I remember the day his biological mom was at our house and we were sitting in the kitchen. Ryan yelled, "Hey, Mom!" and she answered. But he replied, "Not you, my other Mom."
In a typical relationship, the child loves the parent because the parent loves them first. I love Ryan because he loved me first. I have had to apologize to him so many times and thank him for loving me. Even at times when I didn’t deserve it. When he was in high school, any time they announced his parents, I was announced as his Mom. That was his doing. Even when his biological mom was there.
Daddy's Little Girl
Bryan and Andrea’s relationship as father and daughter was a little simpler. I had full custody of her. Her biological dad lives in another state, and she visits him as I believe she has the right to know him and make her own judgement about their relationship. She is crazy about her stepdad, and she truly is his little girl.
Then there is the relationship between the three children. They love each other. A real family.
I have some harsh feelings about biological parents and the way they judge stepparents. I also have some pretty strong feelings about people like myself, stepparents who don't accept stepchildren. All children just want to be loved, and the more people that love them the better. I do not want another child to go through what Ryan did.
What are some of the issues you've had to face with stepparents, stepchildren and biological parents in your blended family?