Tag Archives: stepmoms

Coraline

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I like to read books with Nicholas (formerly my stepsons, too) as a way to generate discussion, spend time together, and promote the importance of reading.   Last summer I was checking out a few possible titles for these reasons and found Coraline on my shelf .  The cover looked interesting so I read it first to make sure it was suitable reading material for my boys. 

Front Cover

I’m glad I previewed it!  In my opinion this horror-fantasy was too dark for their minds.  It was even a little creepy to me! 

Coraline Jones is bored in her new home until she finds a secret door and happens upon an alternate version of her life on the other side. On the outside, this lateral world is hauntingly comparable to her real life and the people in it – only much better. However, when her perfect “other” world turns evil, and her “other” parents try to force Coraline  to stay with them forever, she must count on her wits, diligence, and courage to leave this extremely dangerous world – and save her family.  Coraline is also aided by a rather clever, arrogant, sarcastic black cat.  His lines in the book are hilarious! 

Naturally, the “other” mother and father in this story are wicked.  The terminology of “other” reminded me of step parents.  I definitely didn’t want Ethan and Evan to draw any erroneous parallels between me and Coraline’s “second” mum!

After reading the book I thought it would make a really good movie, and thus was a bit surprised to see a trailer for it on tv a year and a half later.  I didn’t  quite picture a 3-D animated version, but perhaps this way it will come across more “friendly” to a younger audience.

I am still debating whether we will go see it or not.

 

What She Wanted (An Update)

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I called the Stepmom back and I was right about the reason for her call.  She wanted to invite Ethan to his brother’s party on Saturday.  Unfortunately, I had to decline because we already have plans.  We are spending the weekend with Evan.  I thanked her for thinking to include him.  She said she understood.

I’m sure Eliza knew in advance about the party (she knows all the goings on of their household)–this would explain her niceness at the last visit.  She probably figured that if she sweetened me up, we would allow Ethan to attend the party.  As she does with everything, she found a way to make the invite about her.  It had nothing to do with her being sweet or sour towards me.  Had we been given enough notice, it would have been no problem. 

I wonder why the Stepmom only gave us a two day notice–if they really wanted him to come?   Did they have to debate on whether or not to invite him?  I got the feeling that they were anticipating him not being able to attend.  I’m sure that Eliza had already “told them so.” 

She did not mention anything about getting the boys together at a later date either.  I was hoping that she did because getting them together shouldn’t just be a one-time thing.  The whole thing was just strange.  But at least the communication was drama-free.

Stepmom to Stepmom

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I received a voicemail yesterday from Ethan and Evan’s other brother’s stepmom.  I was surprised.  She asked that I call her when I got the opportunity.  She didn’t provide any information as to why she was calling in the first place.

My interaction with her has been nonexistent.  I met her once over a year ago when I dropped the boys off at their house.  She answered the door and stuck her head out and introduced herself. 

Eliza and her other son’s father have made sure that we wouldn’t have any dealings with each other.  I guess they were afraid that I would sully her mind with my tales of Eliza’s terrorism.  Her other son’s father even made the comment that he does not allow her to be involved, hinting around that my husband should do the same.

I thought about calling her on occassion so that we could get the boys together.  However, I knew if I would have tried to contact the other Stepmom, Eliza and him would have been furious.  They would have accused me of trying to “start” something.

Over a year ago Eliza claimed that we were keeping the boys apart.  She failed to acknowledge how her other son’s father was hostile toward us.  He is very close to their family and is best friends with one of Eliza’s brothers.  Nor did she mention how everytime we allowed them to stay over his house, many misunderstanding would abound (once her brother accused us of not taking care of the boys because when they were at their other brother’s house, they did not have on a pair of new  shoes.  There was nothing wrong with the ones they had on, he just felt that because their other brother had new shoes, that my stepsons should have some as well!  When their brother stayed at our house, he was very sullen and barely said two words to me, my husband, or Nicholas. 

We were constantly having to defend ourselves and put out out many small fires.  He also told her that he heard I did not want the kids at our house.  Who wants to interact with people like that? 

I wrote reminding her that I had been arranging outings involving the three of them and covering all costs involved as well.    I also told her that I had no problem collaborating with the other stepmom.  We could have been a support for each other.  Apparently somebody had a problem with it because that was the end of the discussion.

So what could she possibly want now?  Yesterday was her other son’s birthday.  Maybe they are having a party that they want Ethan to attend.  Maybe she is ready to arrange those outings.  Or perhaps she would like to go see Eliza together so that she can visit with all of her boys at once (Eliza has hinted around to this a couple of times). 

I am curious about the reason for her call.  But on the otherhand, I hate how everything is always on their terms.  I plan to call her after work.  I need to prepare myself for whatever the conversation may be.

Friendship

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Friendship~1. The condition or fact of being friends: a friendship from childhood. 2. A feeling of warmth toward another; friendliness: friendship between two people who like the same things.

I guess the saying “Birds of a feather flock together,” is a true statement.

I remember meeting Morocco for the first time.  We met through someone we both knew in a department store.  We talked for awhile and exchanged e-mail addresses and phone numbers. 

I kept thinking how refreshing it was to meet someone else in my shoes.  Before Morocco, none of my friends were stepmoms.  In the beginning Morocco and I spent countless hours on the phone.  And when we were not on the phone we were e-mailing back and forth. 

At first most of our conversations were about our lives as stepmoms before we met.  Then because we grew into a friendship, we can talk about anything. 

I am so thankful that I met Morocco.  I honestly believe God brought us together.  We needed each other.  I know I needed her.  It just feels better sharing and venting to someone that really understands what you may be going through. 

“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”  I do believe that Morocco came into my life for a reason.  I also believe that we will remain friends for a lifetime, since we have passed over many seasons.

It Gets Greater Later

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I often spend my Saturday mornings grocery shopping. The local shopping district that I utilize is routinely populated by students who attend the school where I teach. So it’s not unusual for me to run into students, both past and present during this time. The trip I made to the grocery store last weekend was no different. I was spotted by several former students. For the most part, I am always happy to see them. I love to see how they have grown and hear about the progress that they have made in life. Then other times I liken myself to a celebrity being chased by the paparazzi. I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes I dodge, hide, or dart down the aisles in order to avoid my current students. Because even the students who don’t like you as a teacher at school, love you when they see you in public and always want to talk to you. Of course, this makes me feel weird, but rest assured, I know that by Monday morning, they will be back to their old fickle selves. How comforting!

I was standing at the cold cuts case trying to find a suitable Lunchable for Nicholas’ lunch when I felt a slight touch to my lower back. I turned and faced Nina, a former student. Nina was a student from the beginning of my teaching career. She had a great personality, but was not really into school. I think she was there largely for the social aspect and eventually quit school altogether.  Over the years I saw her a couple of times at Skyline Chili where she worked.

We were both pleasantly surprised to see each other considering three years had passed since she had served Cincinnati’s famous chili. Nina shyly told me that she was working on getting her GED and that she had hopes of attending college. I told her about the new changes within our school system, like how all the teachers at our school had to re-interview for our jobs. I was among the first to be interviewed and had already received my position back. Nina gave me a quick smile before saying “I knew that they wouldn’t let you go because you are the best English teacher at AHS.” Having finally learned the art of replying to compliments with grace, I simply said thank you. However, I was somewhat surprised by her commendation. As I mentioned, she was not particularly studious and rarely did the assignments I gave. I had no idea that she held this view of me. But it did make me feel good.

After a little more small talk, we parted ways and continued our shopping. A little later in the day it dawned on me—being a stepparent is a lot like being a teacher. Oftentimes you don’t know the impact that you are having on your students until years later. Just when you think you have bombed and didn’t make a dent of difference in their lives, the exact opposite is true. I receive many letters, emails, and visits from former students who express their gratitude over lessons learned. I love this. This fuels my passion to perform better each year since I rarely get to see the immediate fruits of my Herculean effort that I put forth. I have no problem accepting this fact of life as a teacher. This is a hard concept for me to master as a stepmom. But listening to Nina gave me hope. And it’s not that I expect something in return from my stepsons for being a positive influence in their lives, however, just hearing that you somehow made a difference does feel mighty good.

Help Me Rhonda!

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When I need encouragement,When I need advice,When I have unpleasant thoughts, That really isn’t so nice…There’s someone I can count on, Who can make me think again-Cause no one checks my attitude, Quite like my sister friend…We tell each other all the news,We watch each other’s back,We lift each other’s spirits,And we catch each other’s slack[Rhonda], when it comes to true friends,You’re the leader of the pack!                      

 ~Unknown  

            She was a godsend to my life.  I couldn’t believe another person existed on earth that was going through what I was.  I had the good fortune to meet Rhonda through a coworker.  It was Fall Break and I wanted to check out the grand opening of a popular department store in my neighborhood.  Browsing down each aisle I ran into Patty, an acquaintance from work.  Her friend Rhonda was with her that day and she made the fateful introduction.  Almost three years have passed since then.

            Rhonda has been invaluable to me.  Not only does she help me process my feelings about my stepmom journey, but she is a natural encourager as well.  I trust her emphatically with my bad thoughts because I am confident that she will not judge me for being candid with my feelings.  I can vent to her because I know that she empathizes.  Sometimes she just listens.  Sometimes she offers at advice.  She does not always think that I am right and tells me so.  I need this.  She has a special way of getting me back on track by reminding me of who I am. 

            She encourages me to keep trying with Eliza even when her generous gestures are often rejected by Kierra’s mom.  Rhonda is a good role model for me because she loves Kierra unconditionally.  She continues to inspire me to be the best person that I can be.