One of the hardest things for me about being a stepmother has been the lack of connection my stepson has with my family.
I never thought I would be raising a child who did not consider my family his own. I expected that any children I had would be close to my parents and siblings. My sister and I used to talk about how our kids would be over at each other’s houses all the time. My family make wonderful grandparents and aunts and uncles to my little nieces and nephews. It almost hurt to think he wouldn’t think twice about them except as some nice people. They are so important to me that it felt like a form of rejection of me.
I knew in my head that it wasn’t the case. These people were literally strangers to him. He didn’t have any history or bonds with them, and that wasn’t going to happen overnight. This also meant that he wouldn’t really have any drive or desire to see them. So I have had to learn (over and over again) that this is just the way it is. It isn’t a fault of his or mine. It is what it is. I should have that mantra tattooed on my body for the significance it has played in my life the last couple of years.
Over the last three years, he has gotten more comfortable and playful with my family when he is around them. They pick and play with him like anyone else. But he still did not seem to connect with them any more than seeing them as really nice people who give him presents. He calls them all by first name. He doesn’t ask to spend any time with them. When there are two conflicting family events, he will choose his mother’s family over mine. I understand, of course, though I still feel a twinge of grief. It is what it is.
He and I were talking in the car the other day, and the conversation somehow turned to age. I told him about my great grandparents and that they had passed just a few years before he and I met.
He turned to me and asked, “so I almost had great great grandparents?”