Before I became a parent at age 39 the allure of babies was a total mystery to me.
My experiences with them were more conducive to birth control than procreation. Whenever I got on an airplane, inevitably I’d be stuck next to or in front of the screaming, squirmy twin of Satan. The one exception, I remember, was a cute, well-behaved baby, sitting next to me on her mother’s lap. Until she coughed up the cud of a cracker onto her little palm and sweetly wiped it on my suit sleeve. Yeah. Good times.
So the maternal instinct never really kicked in for me.
Neither did the “step-maternal” instinct when I fell in love with Dave -- who was the father of 5-year-old Ryan. The only stepmother I knew of was that wicked woman who locked Cinderella in a closet then went and talked to some creepy mirror about “who’s the fairest of them all.” But Dave was the real deal for me, and I convinced myself that I really wasn’t the type to lock Ryan in a closet (although since then I’ve come darn close) so I decided to take the leap and marry his dad. Boom! Insta-Mom!
Two years later, along came Sam, followed 18 months later by Alex (both girls). And now I “get it.” How parenting can be the hardest and the most wonderful thing all at the same time. How parents need miracles sometimes just to make it through the day. And how many miracles our kids bring us at the very time we’re considering putting them on e-bay.
Which brings me back to Ryan, my now 15-year-old stepson who - like many of us who marry and/or start a family later in life - first introduced me to the mania and miracles of parenthood. If you find yourself standing on the precipice of step-parenthood, what Ryan taught me in the following story might help you navigate the leap (or at least laugh a little as you free-fall into the experience). Read on.
Expectations of Being Ryan's Mom
I never knew that angels could come disguised in snips and snails and puppy dog tails. This is the story of one who did.
Ryan was a mystery to me. A flurry of a five-year-old, chock-full of chatter. This "being," this busy boy-child of my soon-to-be, beloved husband, was soon to be my step-son. And I was terrified.