The mother of a friend died recently. He was pretty bummed about the situation, understandably.
Some other people in his life, however, thought that it really wasn't a big deal. Because she was only his step-mother.
I don't have any step-parents. My parents have been married for a staggering 39 years. To each other. My husband didn't have any children when we got married and, despite the fact that people in North Carolina said he must be either gay or a pedophile because he reached the ripe old age of TWENTY-FREAKING-SEVEN without the benefit of marriage or children, he never managed to have any with anyone else.
But he inherited Boy and Girl Child.
I don't like to think about the fact that someday Jason and I will be old. I don't like to think about the fact that someday my children won't be little children anymore. They will grow up and move on and have families of their own. I will, God willing, someday be a grandmother.
And Jason will be a grandfather.
And when Girl Child walks down the aisle, if she so chooses to walk down the aisle, Jason will be the one who walks with her and gives her away. He will be the one who says, "Her mother and I".
And when Jason dies, someday a long, long time from now, Boy and Girl Child will grieve for the father they have lost.
It amazes me how many times the step-parent is the one who is there every single day; packing up lunches and drying up tears and helping with math problems. The one who puts aside money to send the kids to college. The one who sacrifices so that the child can go to camp or get braces on their teeth. The one who lays awake at night, worried when they don't get home on time. The one who prays they will find the right person to marry. The one who picks up the pieces the first time they have a broken heart.
The one who is "only" a step-parent.