Being A Stepmother Has Made Me Want To Be A Biological Mother
I met my husbandâ€™s children about a month into our romantic relationship. It was a bit soon, in case youâ€™re wondering. Theyâ€™d never met any of the other women he dated and viewed me with the kind of suspicion that either rendered them rude or mute in my presence. As empathetic as I felt, â€œWhy are you always here?â€ is not a question that endears a child to anyone, especially when youâ€™ve only met them three times and have taken care to make sure theyâ€™ve seen their dad alone in between those visits.
When I met their father, my main priority was not motherhood or even getting my career into some kind of order. It was being OK on my own.
I was a lonely, bullied kid who turned out needy. The kind of person who went out every night, no matter how tired I was, or how little I liked the company I was keeping, in order not to be alone. I had entire relationships, both sexual and platonic, simply so I did not have to spend time on my own. Such is the long-term effect of victimization and relational aggression at a young age.
At 28, I thought it was about time I learned to be happy in my own company. That summer, I returned to Dublin, where Iâ€™d been in grad school, and took a room in a shabby house that during the school year was rented to students. Apart from a high-speed Internet connection and a local stray cat that had turned the backyard into his boudoir, I was alone. Romance, marriage and children (biological or otherwise) were not even a footnote on my agenda. I was gearing to be a long-term single lady, complete with the dance moves that I practiced in my roommate-free living room.
It was great. I cooked for myself, reconnected with old friends, took a lot of walks and did extra work at home in the evenings. I was fulfilled, challenged and generally happier. It was inevitable then that Iâ€™d quickly succeed in meeting not one but two clichÃ©s about love. The first: â€œItâ€™ll happen when youâ€™re not looking.â€ The second: â€œMost people meet their partners at work.â€
Reader, we met on the kitchen on my first day in the office, worked side-by-side for two months, stayed in touch when my contract expired, dated and married about six months later.