I don’t know if this is an all-blended family problem or just my blended-family problem. But I have noticed a trend when most other people introduce my kids and me to someone new. They will either say I have “four kids — but really only three,” or they won’t mention one at all. Why? I’m not sure. I guess because she is my stepdaughter that automatically excludes her from the count.
Well, I have a message for those people.
Please stop discounting her because she isn’t biologically related to me. Yes, technically, she’s my step-daughter. But, to me? She’s just my daughter.
If you asked me about my family growing up, I would’ve told you I had one brother and one sister. Not a half-brother and a half-sister. And although our dad is my dad by blood, he never once introduced my siblings as anything other than his kids. Because that’s all they are to him — his kids. And their kids? Are his grandkids. Period. Not his step-grandkids.
I know not every stepparent feels the same way, which is okay. You can’t fake or force what isn’t there. To those who are struggling, I know I don’t know your personal situation, and I hope you get there in time if you want to.
But I see my situation like this: No, I didn’t carry her in my womb for nine months. And I guess I can’t take credit for her long lashes, or beautiful smile, thanks to a couple of absent strands of DNA. That’s all from her dad and beautiful other mom. But it doesn’t mean I don’t love her all the same, or that I’m not as proud of the milestones she’s achieving. To say so would discredit all kinds of other parents, including adoptive and those who used traditional surrogates and donors to create their families.
The same way there are tons of biological parents who couldn’t care less about their biological kids, there are “stepparents” who love their “stepkids” as their own. And I am one of them. So, when you talk about my family and me, you don’t have to say, “Emily has four kids, but really only three.” You can just say, “Emily has four kids.”
Because I do.
The one you’re trying to exclude? As far as I’m concerned, she’s as much mine.
And as for her love of art projects? And her love of ketchup smothered on top of ketchup? Well, I like to think that’s a little bit from me.