Posted in Culture, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships

An Open Letter to the Mother of My Step-Children

Dear Mom,

I don’t know what it is like for you. My children are grown and don’t have a step-mother. Your children are still young and they have me for a step-mom. You don’t know me. We’ve never met. Yes, we’ve been in each others presence, but we have never spoken. I don’t know what you think of me, but I can only assume that you wonder if I am a good parent. Are your children in safe hands when they are with me? You don’t know what kind of person I am or if you can trust me, a stranger, with your children’s lives. It must be difficult for you to send them off to our home when it’s our weekend or holiday.
What I can tell you is this:

I love your children. They are wonderful! You’ve done an amazing job raising them. Sure, they can be a handful at times, but all children are. I love them as I love my own. I cook for them. I like to make their favorite meals and cater to their (at times) picky needs. I help them rinse all the conditioner out of their hair and I give them toys to play with in the bath tub. I tuck them in bed at night and kiss their foreheads. I hold their hands when we cross the street. I kiss their owwies when they are hurt and I comfort them when they need comfort. I plan fun activities for their stay and listen to their every word. I encourage them and praise them. I throw the football with your son and I polish your daughters’ nails.

You want to know what I don’t do? I don’t discipline them. I let their father do that as I feel it is not my place. I don’t ignore them and I am never mean to them. I don’t belittle or embarrass them. I don’t undermine your authority or try to step on your toes. I don’t do anything that I know you wouldn’t want me to do.

Your children love me. I know because they tell me and show me. They tell their Dad they love me. But you know what? You are never far from their minds. When we are at the flea market, your youngest will point out a tchotchke she thinks you would love. When I make chicken fried steak, they will tell me they love it, but it’s not as good as yours. When we are at the park, your son will see a woman who has the same coat as you do. They tell me they love you and miss you. Sometimes when we have them for a week or more, they get homesick.

I know things aren’t always easy between you and their dad, but you did love him once. You saw all the wonderful things in him that I see. You valued him enough to have children with him. (And I must say, you make beautiful babies together!) I think sometimes, after a divorce it is easy to remember the faults of a person while forgetting their positive attributes. He is a wonderful, loving father. He gets giddy in anticipation of their arrival and is sad when we return them to you. Everyday he excitedly tells me a story about at least one of your children. He hugs them and kisses them and tells them he loves them every chance he gets. His life would be incomplete without them. He tells them it is okay to love me. That doesn’t mean they love you any less. He knows they love your husband and that doesn’t mean they love him any less. How lucky these kids are to have four parents that care so much about them when some children don’t even have one!

So please, don’t worry when they are in my care. I promise you I will protect them with my life. I promise you I will treat them the way I would want my children to be treated. I promise you will I love them, not like you do because a mothers love can never be compared, but I will love them like a step-mother – and that is pretty big love.

Signed,
Step-Mom

stepmom

 

Posted in Community, Culture, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships

To Die For…

I can’t keep quiet any longer. Like Jose said, “Opinions are like assholes and everybody has one,” so I’m finally going to throw in my two cents. I tried to avoid it, but the topic has been front and center everywhere I turn. It’s on television and social media. I guess what finally threw me over the edge was this:

gary

I am, of course, talking about Brittany Maynard.
I’ve read hundreds of comments about her. (Whatever, I have a lot of time on my hands.) It seems everyone is passionate about their opinion and everyone is convinced their opinion is the right one. I’ve seen her called brave and a coward, I’ve seen her called a hero and a quitter.
As with any controversial topic, you’re going to see heated debate, one that inevitably includes religion. And what what would a controversial topic be without the deity of your choice waltzing in wearing a flashing neon sign? (hashtag Ecclesiastes 7:17)
religion

Oh yeah, don’t forget politics! You can’t have a discussion (especially on Election Day) without politics entering the picture. Did you know that there are three states in the union that have “Death With Dignity” Laws? I didn’t either. They are Oregon, Washington, and Vermont. All three of them are blue states.

“Remember to vote Democrat today! If it weren’t for them, Brittany wouldn’t have been able to CHOOSE death with dignity!”

or

“Make sure you vote Republican today! They would NEVER allow a doctor to murder!”

Holy crap! I guess it’s all about perspective. Out of all the comments I’ve read, I think I like this one the most:
joseWhat do you think? Until you have walked the shoes of a person facing this, are you really entitled to your opinion? Do I have the right to state my own opinion knowing the road I’m facing with my tumors? Sure, my situation is different. I am not physically suffering. I’ve had a few terrible, nearly unbearable bouts. When it gets bad, I can usually hide the pain, pretend I’m okay. I’m a lover of life with a smile on my face, but the pain I suffer from is emotional, rarely physical. I just want these tumors out of me. I want my life back. No matter how happy I may seem, I always have thoughts of this ugliness in the back of my head (pun intended.) I want to be normal. I want to be healthy. I want to not have to face this ever again. Sure, if you are breathing, you are dying. We all know we can’t beat death, but we don’t know when our time will come, well, some of us have an idea. Brittany knew how long she had. I have an idea of how much time I have left. It changes your perspective, I assure you.

The vast majority of the comments I’ve read go something like this:
“My (insert family member or loved one) is currently/has recently suffered from (insert debilitating disease here.) It pains me to watch/have watched them suffer from this terrible illness. While I don’t personally experience this, seeing this person in my life go through this makes me qualified to pass judgment on Brittany. I think she is a coward/hero for the choices she made and she should/shouldn’t be influencing others to do the same.”

I think the common denominator we should all be focusing on is that fact that nearly every single person has been impacted in some way by a deadly disease. Whether they themselves are diagnosed or their loved one. In the end, someone suffers, someone dies. Shouldn’t we be focusing all of our energy where it really belongs?
I started my blog with a quote from Jose and I’ll end it with a quote from Jose:

“Want to ‘pray’ for someone, want to be mad at someone? Want to call people dirty names? Try the government agencies and the pharmaceutical companies and the lobbyists who hold up research and shoot down the alternative drugs and procedures that could heal some of these people, and have a little damn compassion…”

Well said my love, well said.