Monday, February 18, 2008

Beginnings and endings.

Stacey, my step-daughter left for the Army today. She had a ton of questions. I kept reminding her that I left for boot camp 27 years ago. I imagine that things have changed. What hasn't changed is that excitement, the thrill of leaving northwestern Pennsylvania behind, a fresh start, the feeling that the whole world was within my grasp. I'm glad for her and I remember my own excitement as I watch her begin her big adventure.
We never had a chance to be close. Tim was divorced 8 years before he and I met, but his ex doesn't like me and the kids got caught in that war of loyalties. I tried very hard to be patient, but it made me sad to watch Tim lose those years with his kids. If I tried to build bridges, I was 'trying to take her children away.' If I tried to let things ride, she was telling them that I preferred my own over them. I tried to talk to her, but you can't talk to a screamer, and somewhere along the line, I figured out that she didn't hate me because I was a bad mom. She was afraid of me because I was a good one.
We stopped over to say goodbye to Stacey, and to wish her well. I was surprised when she hugged me. Even more shocked when she said she loved me. I've not heard that since Tim and I first decided to marry. I'm sad for the lost years.
I think we could have been close. But maybe it's not too late.


jeanie said...

Oh how terribly sad that you were not able to really know your stepchildren growing up.

I know (experience and observation) that many fractured families have some tenuous bridges and very few do so perfectly.

Hopefully you both have many years to make an adult friendship - and maybe your stepdaughter's maturity may mellow her mother a little.

Debby said...

I think that Mom will not mellow. She thinks that her temper is a strength. What is changing is her kids perceptions. Mom is not quite the central figure that she used to be now that they are adults, and that allows us to get to know one another better.

Hal Johnson said...

Bless your heart for not giving up on your stepdaughter. That may have never even occurred to you, but I've seen people do it.

Debby said...

I do love his kids. I couldn't give up on them any more than I could give up on my own. You just realize that you have to focus on behaving properly while all the uproar plays itself out.