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May 10, 2010

I felt a collective sigh of relief from the IF blogosphere today now that Mother’s Day has passed, including my own. Mother’s Day holds an extra special hell for me, as it comes with the usual drama from the ex-wife that I have so come to dread every year. Things unfolded a little differently this year.

I was surprised to learn that Mother’s Day is not a Hallmark holiday. It was actually signed into US national observance in 1914. The irony is that the woman who championed for Mother’s Day for many years, Anna_Jarvis, wanted to undo Mother’s Day afterward because of the on-slaught of commercialization that happened after it did become a national holiday. It is also ironic that she died childless.

You may wonder why I know this bit of trivia about Mother’s Day. That’s because I recently learned about Stepmother’s_Day, which was signed into national observance about 10 years ago. The greeting card industry hasn’t seemed to catch on to the cash cow potential of this little known holiday, as I saw not one stepmother’s day card in my local grocery store this year. Stepmother’s_Day is celebrated a week after Mother’s Day. I consider it one of those consolation holidays, otherwise known as “why bother” holidays, since it’s not printed on any calendars bought in this country. Apparently, one sweet little stepdaughter proposed this holiday because she loved her stepmother so much, and never got to spend Mother’s Day with her. I was also surprised to learn that some divorce agreements actually include that Mother’s Day as custody day for the mother. Hence the reason why this little stepdaughter never got to spend Mother’s Day with her stepmother.

Sometime back in the beginning of April, Magic got a request from his ex that her current husband wanted to take her away for a getaway with the kids on the weekend of May 8th. Magic is a gullible and clueless kinda guy, so he has learned to ask me before responding to his manipulative ex. When he asked me if we had anything going on the weekend of May 8th, which was our weekend with the boys, I replied, “it’s Mother’s Day weekend.” I’d been dreading this weekend for weeks, so the date was seared into my memory. If I had the financial means to be in another country that did not celebrate Mother’s Day on Mother’s Day, I would have done it. I I would have rather been on another planet on Mother’s Day if I would have had the choice. Since I could do neither, I knew I would have to go through yet another drama ridden build up to Mother’s Day.

I just didn’t feel right about keeling over and giving the ex the whole weekend this year. Magic also checked their divorce/custody agreement, and it does not explicitly say that the ex gets Mother’s Day. It just says that they will split the holidays. Before Magic and I were married, the ex always made a point of requesting that my stepsons spend some time with their stepfather on Father’s Day. So, when we got married, Magic started requesting some time for me on Mother’s Day. The ex then had selective amnesia, and claimed she never asked for the boys on Father’s Day and that her husband didn’t need to get any time on Father’s Day. By the way, this woman is a therapist.

This year, I suggested that we all have a family meeting and discuss how we should split up Mother’s Day. I’ll refer to my older stepson as Elf. Think of the tall elves of the Lord_of_the_Rings when you think of Elf. He is almost 19. The younger stepson I will refer to as Bear.  He is 16. Last year, Elf got really mad at his mother on Mother’s Day, and told me he thought we should split Mother’s Day. That’s why I wanted to have a family meeting, so that the ex could hear directly from her kids how she was upsetting her sons. She refused to a family meeting, which was no big surprise. Did I mention that she is a therapist? She did suggest that we celebrate Stepmother’s_Day, which is how I found out about this holiday that nobody has heard of. Since that would mean negotiating on her weekend, I nixed that idea. Instead, I talked to the boys myself, telling them how I felt and why I wanted to spend some time on Mother’s Day with them. I told them how I loved them, as if they were my biological sons, and it didn’t matter to me if we were not genetically related. I told them how it felt like an expression of respect for my love for them to spend some time with them on Mother’s Day. In the end, I would do whatever they wanted around the holiday, but I wanted them to know how I felt. It was an opportunity for me to really connect with both my stepsons on a heart level, regardless of what actually happened around Mother’s Day. We each got to tell each other how we felt, and I felt good about that.

Elf was initially kinda waffling about what to do. He didn’t want to hurt his mother by telling her how he truly felt. He said he would come over on Mother’s Day and just not tell his mom. I told him that I thought he should be honest with her, but I would be fine with whatever he decided. I was surprised that he actually did decide to be honest with his mom. He just told her that he was going to spend some time with me on Mother’s Day, and he did make a point of coming over. We meditated together on Mother’s Day. How cool is that, meditating with your 18 year old stepson on Mother’s Day? It was perfect. So was the card he gave me. He wrote this in it:

“Thanks for everything you have done for me over the years and all the love you have shared with this family. It wouldn’t be the same without you. I want you to know that blood or not, I consider you my mother and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Yeah, this got the old tear factory going. Bear got me a card that started out with the words, “MOM,” and was a gush fest after that. These guys rock. Bear had to work on Mother’s Day, so I didn’t actually get to see him Mother’s Day since I knew he would spend the rest of the day he wasn’t working with his mom. I was ok with that. We celebrated the night before. They made me dinner, and we watched a movie together. It was just like old times when they actually wanted to spend more time with us than their friends on weekend nights.

In the end, I think I had a more meaningful Mother’s Day with my stepsons than I think they had with their mom, because of the honesty and openness in which we talked about the whole thing. It may not have been Hallmark commercial perfect, but it was real and heartfelt. That’s all that matters (though my ego still wants the Hallmark perfect commercial).

I also had another unexpected thing happen on Mother’s Day. I got a visit from my spirit baby. I haven’t really connected with her in a long time. I half thought she was gone. I’ve been working on not being attached to having my own children, and all the issues that brings up for me. I hadn’t felt her around in a long time, and I wasn’t working on trying to contact her. But she showed up on Mother’s Day. I didn’t really make anything of it. I was just with it. Magic said he felt a presence too. This is the mantra I have been singing to myself since I heard this song on the radio. I think of my spirit baby when I hear the lyrics:

Maybe, in the future, you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna come back.
The only way to really know is to really let it go.
Maybe, you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna come back to me…

(I know the song is about a guy, but I think about my spirit baby when I hear this song. I have a way of turning any song lyrics into however I’m feeling about having/not having a baby.)

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010 10:30 pm

    Sounds like you had a wonderful day, I’m so happy for you. I’m so glad Elf and Bear are such sweet boys. You’re an amazing woman, and I’m glad they recognize it.

  2. Denver Laura permalink
    May 11, 2010 3:56 am

    I had no idea there was such a day as “stepmother’s day.” I’m glad you were able to spend time with your step sons. At least it came from the heart and didn’t seem forced.

  3. May 11, 2010 5:21 am

    Oh man. I teared up reading your stepson’s words…they were beautiful and to have the maturity and capacity to express that kind of sentiment at 18, well, that’s just another testament to your awesome presence in their lives. Hooray for you for sticking up to the evil-how-can-she-be-a-therapist???? ex-wife, yikes indeed. I’m glad your Mother’s Day wasn’t awful! The family you already have is a beautiful one, and any way you add to it is going to only enrich it further.

  4. May 11, 2010 5:48 am

    Glad your Mother’s Day turned out to be special after all. Your stepsons sound like wonderful young men, & I’m sure you share some of the credit for that.

    A good friend/former coworker of mine has no children of her own, but brought up her first husband’s two children — the oldest son, as a teenager, hired his own lawyer to get away from their mother!! — & stayed in contact with them even after she split from their father. They are still very close, she is “Nana” to their children, & I think they get along better with her than either of their biological parents.

  5. Elliej permalink
    May 11, 2010 11:25 am

    I cried when I read Elf’s words, twice. As Mrs LC says, you rock for having patented those wonderful boys. You clearly love and are loved in return. That is no mean achievement considering the personal turmoil you have endured. Love on xxx ps I’m sure the ex was one of my therapists. Did she spend any time in Ireland ?!!!

  6. May 11, 2010 12:23 pm

    That song (which I love) will now make me think of you.

    Very cool that you meditated with your stepson, and that they boys acknowledges you so awesomely.

    I love that you sat with your spirit baby. Love love it.

  7. May 11, 2010 12:44 pm

    I loved the story about how you were all honest with each other about how you each felt would be the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

    Step-parents are just as important as biological parents. I’m so glad you got honored and recognized on your special day.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  8. geeksinrome permalink
    May 11, 2010 3:14 pm

    you are a breath of fresh air for those boys. You know yourself how important you have been for their growth and it is FABULOUS they are aware of it and honest about it with you!! I am psyched you got a well-deserved Mother’s Day with them.

    And I am not surprised psycho manipulator is a therapist — maybe that’s why she is so good at manipulating: she understands human behavior and uses it to her advantage. very sad and very heartbreaking her sons can see through her and have to grapple with what must be such conflicting feelings. Thank god you are there for them.

    Mother’s Day is for any woman who nutures and cares for others with an open heart. You have always fit that bill. xxoo

  9. May 11, 2010 4:39 pm

    This was a beautiful post, my dear. It is apparent in your boys actions and words of the positive impact you have had (and continue to have) on their lives. Hallmark is so overrated. What you had on this day was so much more real and amazing than any moment they could think to conjure up for the masses.

    Happy Mother’s Day to one of the really good ones.

  10. May 12, 2010 7:25 am

    I’m 100% positive that your stepsons are lucky to have you in their lives. I’m so glad that they realize it too. You are an amazing woman.

  11. Sky permalink
    May 13, 2010 11:17 am

    It looks like you’ve been a mom for a good long time already.

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