Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I have sons?

Yesterday, I read with interest a comment on my youngest daughter's social networking site; "... what about christmas. Your BROTHERS (caps reproduced) need to see their little sister."

The brothers are news to me! I know I have three girls - I was there at all the births and I have the scars to prove it - but the boys I knew not a thing about.

See, my girls' other parent married again a couple years ago and the new spouse is doing everything possible to abscond with my kids - my ADULT kids. At first, I said to myself the note was nothing more than funny and desperate and that I wasn't bothered, but I AM bothered. Only a bit but bothered all the same.

So, whilst outside absently mowing the lawn (it was absent, as is obvious from the very crooked paths and large un-mown portions), I had a mental conversation with this "step-parent" based on my partial hope and partial fear of a reaction to my comment, just following the other on my child's site; mine to the effect, "Whaaaat? I have sons? Who knew...."

The mental conversation went something like this:
She calls and she says, "I have something to say to you," to which I reply, "Ok, shoot," which precedes what I expect would be a bit of a barrage from her which includes protestations of her husband's honesty (questionable) and that she is really the step mom.

My reply would be something to the effect that, in order for the person to be legally considered a step parent, several things would have had to happen, one being my death and another being my children having lobotomies.

So, you, the guilty parties, if you should read this, here's the real scoop on step parents:

In order to be a step parent, one must be legally married to the other parent. I hear, via the grapevine that my ex spouse has legally married, but in the absence of my having been at the wedding and/or having seen the actual marriage license, I only have it on reasonably good authority that it all actually happened. My condolences, by the way.... But anyway, I'll concede that there's a marriage in place.

However, in order to be a really, really step parent, one would have to adopt the children in question. I'm dead sure that didn't happen in my case because I'm still alive and I sure as hell didn't sign any release of any type, nor was my sole custody revoked so yeah, there's no legal transfer of custody.

I also know that there's no way that the child who was an adult when my spouse married would need or want to be adopted and that neither of them, both legal adults, would consent to it now.

So, what that means is that colloquially my kids have a step parent but legally that person is nothing of the sort, which means that said "brothers" are neither anything of the sort.

I would feel much more charitable about the situation were it not for the reality that the so-called step parent not only knows nothing about me, their actions indicate they'd prefer if there was no me to know anything about.

But there is.

I and my partner, who has been on the scene full time for nearly 12 years, are very close and very connected to my kids and we are completely lacking in need of other forms of parents or wanna-be parents.

So here's the deal. If you want to have a relationship with your step-children, accept that their existing parents are a major presence in their lives that cannot be replaced or eradicated. Any attempts to do so make you look desperate. This is assuming that the existing parents are not dangerous or absent or drug-addicted. That's a whole different scenario but not at all applicable in my case.

A better plan would be to simply accept the fact that your spouse has children and that they're part of the extended family but that they are not your children, nor are they siblings with your children. You should let those children -especially if they're all adults, as in my case - get to know each other and to form whatever relationships THEY choose to form, without your pushing your desires on them or manipulating how those relationships play out or trying to make a family out of a bunch of potentially unwilling strangers.

Kay. I'm done. I'll go fix my messy lawn now.

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