They're very similar people, actually. Though neither of them would admit that.
I written about the relationship with my stepdaughter's mother to varying degrees in the past --vented the behaviors that piss me off, the egregious accusations against my family and the petty complaints about my sheer presence in my stepdaughter's life.
Over the last several months, with the settling of my postpartum hormones, I recognize that I don't care what she says and does with one exception. That exception is Reagan.
There's the saying that has been so overused, but that is so accurate, "When you know better, you do better," is totally applicable to her mother. In the last 3+ years, I've come to see, she doesn't want to know better. The difference is, our shared interest is older and able to comprehend a lot more of the hurt.
It blows my mind that people don't realize how impactful words can be...especially to children.
I guess because I was a kid when I learned that lesson, I expect adults --MOTHERS--to know it.
In the past, there was so much chaos that happened, was said and that Reagan endured...there were neverending conversations about it all. It was exhausting for all of us. However, this child needed a place to talk about it all and get it out.
Oh, there were definitely games played on her end--stirring up trouble trying to play both sides against each other etc.--just as kids try to do between their parents. That's all ceased. Now it's just a simple "dumping of the crap" each week. We get through it quickly and we're done with it.
I'm glad she has a safe place to discuss her feelings and whatever her reasoning is for it being me, doesn't really matter to me.
School and its normality has been a big presence in her life as well and the routines that she's come to expect make things easier for her.
Quite honestly, Lily, has been an important part in Reagan's security in our home and family. I've seen her grow into a more confident person, someone who feels like she 'fits', and is just happier. We ensure she knows what's going on with her schedule between here and her mom's if anything veers from the norm so that she knows and understands where she'll be and why anything has changed.
A few months ago, we were eating dinner--all 5 of us sitting at the table--and out of the blue she said, "I want to start calling you 'mom'." I smiled at her because I knew where it had come from. I simply said, "As I've always told you, whatever you choose to call me, is ok with me and if you want to call me 'mom', I'm happy with that too."
I'm thrilled she's in a place where she feels completely happy and secure in our family and the last 3 1/2 years of our developing relationship have been meaningful to her as well.
On Christmas Day, she shared some new feelings that were heartbreaking. I'm unable to fix it for her.
And that is the only time I get angry about it anymore. When she is hurt.
My mother-in-law is careless with her words as well and neither of them care enough or are unselfish enough to realize the impact of their sharp tongues.
My stepdaughter shouldn't know that her mother hates me.
My mil excuses herself because "that's the way she is".
I expect nothing different from either of them. They've proven themselves over and over again.
And all I can say to BOTH of them...it's not me you're hurting.