Thursday, March 25, 2010

And a child shall lead them

to their knees.

It started out a perfectly lovely day, BC made pancakes for breakfast. We gathered around the table to gobble down the food. The Kid's friend was dropped off for an overnight play date.

A classmate had decided to have an inaugural WebKinz meeting that afternoon - yes I realize you had no idea there were such things, well there really aren't; it was the spark of imagination of a little girl. The truth is I do not get the allure of webkinz, nor do I love the website games from what I have heard of them at deafening volume when The Kid spends time there. I did think it was a clever idea for a gathering that did not involve presents and time at a Chuck E Cheese type of place (again very little experience, I may have gone to one but I scrubbed any real memory from my brain of the event other than there was a lot of noise).

We dropped them off at a lovely house and proceed to giggle like school girls cutting school. It has never happened that we had a bit of free time on a Kid weekend. I tell you it was totally exciting - we went to Targee {tm}. Finally we got fun coffee drinks and sat in the car, wishing for a bit more time to run home for some serious grown up time, but there was only enough time to sip from paper cups and dream.

I never know what I should do in moments like this, but given the car I at least need to get out of it to let the kids in. Because I try to respect boundaries and not step on toes, I ask BC if it's okay, if I should come along. While their split is common knowledge by this time, showing off your new relationship is something else again. She assured me that it was fine so we stepped up the walk to enter a noisy and cozy house filled with children. Our girls were getting there things together, BC introduced me to the host parent and we chatted. The mom wandered to deal with something and a little girl, eight at most I would say, with mousy brown straight hair, very round watery blue eyes and a slightly narrow, pinched face looked up at me and said "Who's mom is that?"

For a moment the world froze and my heart stopped. It is not like I haven't heard that before but it's been years and years. Perhaps it was during the time I was trying to get pregnant, I don't remember. What I do know is this time was different. This time I had already tried to get pregnant, it hadn't worked, then followed an abyss of indecision and stony silence, finally a decision, of sorts had been reached. And now? Now I exist in the nowhere land. I am not a parent, but I am with someone who is, we are not in the state where the label "stepparent" is used or applicable. It was a bit of a panicked moment which I was rescued from by someone, I don't remember who or what was said. A response was flubbed or redirected, something.

This moment stuck with me for several days but I said nothing. It then faded away, submerged in the river of denial. Until yesterday, while doing my daily pages it suddenly turned up. This is the thing about this writing exercise, doing it everyday, even late in the day, without a plan, without intent there is no telling where your mind will take you if you just let things flow. This parent being that resides in me has nowhere to go; she just bangs around, walking in circles, into walls looking for somewhere to rest, looking for someone to nurture, to care for in that way. There are no animals to take care of, to snuggle in the night anymore. There are no doula clients to soothe, to support, to coo over. But there is this child who rightfully, reasonably holds me at a bit of a distance; who I hold at a distance, rightfully, reasonably. I have no name in this relationship, I may never.

In the meanwhile I will continue to try to find a place for that parent self that resides within and maybe she will not throw the panic switch the next time a random child asks that question.


Lisa said...

In Sweden they use two slang terms with stepparents, given that marriage is not always the avenue of choice, their vocab has evolved ahead. One is 'plastmama" or Plastic Mom, and the other, which I love most, is Bonusmama, or Bonus Mom. That's you!

Kathleen said...

Oh honey. I assure you, I understand how you feel. I don't know if it gets any easier. I've been "there" for 10 years now and I can't say that anything is better or worse. My cats are the only thing that has saved my sanity, I think. Oh - and yea, I know what webkinz are :)

Lisa said...

I would agree with Lisa on the Bonus Mom title. And I can agree with Kathleen with the fact that I'm no sure it gets easier. What I do know is that you have an enormous amount of love and experience inside that you can share. Take pride in what you have to offer and talk with BC about what role she wants you to share/take. And, of course, you can always call me anytime!

kdbearcat88 said...

You are in an unusual situation. But do talk to the BC to help figure out what role you want to be in. You've got lots of love to give. I know cause Code gets some of it. ;)

Ivy and Haley said...

You do have an unusual situation but you seem like a thoughtful and analytical person - I have faith that you will figure it out. Good luck to you, my dear.


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