Monday, September 26, 2011

There are no steps in this house

There are no steps in this house. None at all.

We live in a 1500 sq ft ranch style home. There are no steps anywhere in it and no steps leading up to it, but more important than the absence of steps in the house is the absence of steps in our family.

If you are reading this you are probably already aware that we are a blended family. His, mine, and ours. What you may not be aware of is that the word "step" is not used as an adjective for parents, children, or siblings in our home.

When Mr. Handsome and I were engaged I began to really think about the "step" title. I had a stepdad once and never had an issue with the title. I also didn't have a relationship with him... Well, not a good one, anyway. In our discussion about our children, the first decision we made was pretty clear. My former spouse had not seen our children for almost two years. My daughter didn't remember him and my son only had two or three memories at best. So that seemed like a no brainer. I just called him (let's call him - Mr. Free Spirit - to be kind) and said, "I'm marrying Mr. Handsome. He wants to adopt the kids. Will you sign the paperwork?" and I got a very simple "yes" from Mr. Free Spirit. So Mr. Handsome adopted Gigglebox(6) and Miss Princess(3), and since July of 2010 they call Mr. Handsome, daddy.

So now we had the older children to think about. They were ages 5,8, and 9 when we married, so they definitely knew I wasn't there mom. I had no intention of trying to be. Mr. Handsome has joint custody of the older three, so we have them a literal 50% of the time. They have a mom, and I'm not it, and that's okay. Now, they also have me and the sound of "stepmom" makes me cringe. Maybe because it seems to separate family like steps separate levels of the house. May it was because I had seen too many Disney movies with evil step-mothers. Whatever it was, I had adamantly decided that was not going to be a desciption of me or anyone in that house. Gigglebox and Little Princess were no longer "steps" by adoption they were siblings. So that made things a little easier. Coming up with a different title for me was a little harder. Miss Lovenotes(6) at one point asked if she could call me mom. Although, it warmed my heart that she looks at me that way I had to decline. As a mother myself I couldn't take that title from someone who is actively involved in their children's lives. So the older kids call me Victoria. Sometimes Vickie. And if they are talking about me to someone else they call me ExtraMom or BonusMom. 

I want to have a relationship with them that says "love" without words being necessary. I love them like my own. They are part of my six kids. No separation. No "step". With the addition Smiley baby, our family is really complete. 

So if you were a fly on the wall in home for day, you would hear plenty of "brothers" and "sisters", "Victorias" and "dads", but you won't hear "step"... and more than anything else, you'll hear a lot of "I love yous". And those are my favorite. 

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