If you’re a bonus parent/family member, this one is for you.
If you’re not, this is still for you. It can shed light on things the average person doesn’t always see in the bigger picture.
Being a parent is hard enough, and then when you parent a child who already has a mom, dad, grandparent, etc? Oof. Things just got a bit messier.
You will always come in second to their biological family members. Period. No questions asked. And, that my friend, is the way it should be. It doesn’t make things easy, rather, it makes them extraordinarily difficult at times.
When I entered Averi’s world she was almost five. Five, guys. Her people and her boundaries were very much already set, and I was an intruder. Don’t get my wrong, she loved me, but was very confused about why her daddy’s rather new friend was moving in with them when that day came. She somewhat understood, because her mom was engaged. Her dad, her hero, though, hadn’t ever introduced her to anyone. Which made it that much more difficult.
Things were rocky in the beginning, to no certain persons fault. Brett did not have legitimate visitation set through the court yet, so Averi’s mom had control of everything. And let me tell you what; the relationship we have now is virtually flawless compared to what it was in the beginning.
We clashed; a lot. Mainly on my end, I will admit. But it was tough seeing a really good dad get virtually no time with his child, when there are dad’s who don’t even try and end up with 50/50. The last straw was when he was allowed to have her for four hours on Father‘a Day. Four hours. On Father’s Day. What?
We managed to settle everything in mediation, thankfully. But, it was a rather long road.
Today, you’d never know we started off on such a wrong foot. I would say it was maybe three years in when it dawned on me that Averi deserved so much better than a group of people who couldn’t suck it up and play nice. We’re all adults here, right? So, as I sat in the bath one night reflecting on life, I sent an apology to Kati. An apology tied to a string of things pertaining to how much better this sweet girl we all had in common deserved, and it felt time to finally make that happen. You know what happened? She agreed, and we moved forward. Never once looking back.
It takes work. So. Much. Work. And, it is so worth it. I love this girl as much as humanly possible without her being biologically mine.
That was another struggle in itself, and I thank God for my therapist who was able to clear a few things up for me. I felt absolutely horrible for years, because; social media. People talking about how they love their bonus child/ren as much as their biological littles, and I felt like I was doing something wrong. Try as I might, countless hours of trying to create a bond that wasn’t there, praying to attain a level I couldn’t yet see, and it took a therapist to set me straight. It is not an actual thing. We cannot actually create a bond that is formed at birth with a child we did not bring into this world! Oh, what a relief it was to know I was not a complete failure and horrible person for lacking this ability.
Playing parent to a child who very much knows you are not the real mom/dad/whoever is not an easy ballgame. Don’t get me wrong, Averi is near gold, but things still happen that I don’t know how to handle correctly. So, honestly, I usually don’t. I would rather let it go than cause conflict between the two of us. Which, again, has lead us to having difficulty remembering I am still a boss, and have to be listened to without guffawing at my request.
Hell, I’m still learning with the tiny humans I gave birth to, and I’m supposed to know how to properly handle situations with a child who is now ten? Ouch. Please send more wine. (Kidding, kinda.)
Really, I do find myself wishing there was a manual for stuff like this at times. It isn’t easy. Some days are really really hard, at best. It takes extra energy and patience that I may not even have with my own littles yet, and that can be exhausting. It takes work to parent a child who still very much has her biological mom and dad.
If you are a bonus parent/person; I see you. You’re doing the best you can. This isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Things will get better. You are strong, and you are amazing for loving a child as much as humanly possible, that isn’t even “yours.” I applaud you, and all that you do every single day for that sweet, sweet child.