13 June 2007

die Stiefmutter

die Stiefmutter = Step mother

Let's set the record straight regarding the Bubbie.... He is not mine by birth... He is mine by marriage... He is six. He will be seven next month. He is by all accounts, beautiful, brilliant and quite mature for his age. That is if there is such a thing as a mature six year old...

Not being physcially able to have my own offspring increases my love for the Bubbie even more so. He is a smaller replica of mein Deutscher. Not much smaller mind you as the kid is about 4'3" (or less than a foot shorter than me if you must know).

I am sorry we do not get to see him very often; however, he lives in New Jersey so visits are hard to come by since it involves flights and possibly hotels and rental cars if we just go to see him. Gets pricey quickly... Especially if you would actually like to do something with him or (gasp) eat...

I think I am taking on the role of "Stiefmutter" quite well. I treat him with honesty, integrity and respect. I cheer his successes and kiss away the boo-boo's. It's a given that I love the Bubbie. I have known him since the day he was born. Used to baby sit for him when the German was married to his ex-wife. My whole family has embraced him as well. With my being an only child, he is the only grandchild Mama and Daddy will know. The Bubbie refers to them as Memere and Pepere, the Cajun nicknames for grandparents. The Bubbie delights in the Nana having lost his last biological great-grandparent 4 or 5 years ago. Mama, Daddy and Nana love having him around and are utterly exhausted upon his departure having played, cuddled and loved on him the entire time he visits.

With the notable exception of the cat being totally petrified of him, there is no problem in the world with the Bubbie. Wherein the problem lies is the mother of the Bubbie... She and I were never close. I was always the German's friend, not her's. I had known him for almost four years before they even met. She expects us to take the Bubbie according to what fits her schedule. She expects my German to be the one who has to take a full day off from work to pick him up while she is the one that can conveniently retrieve him on a Sunday. Do not get me wrong, mein Deutscher has no problem taking a day off from work to retrieve his son - that is not the issue. The problem is the expectation on her behalf that my German make the sacrifice of doing so to bring him for a visit because she, in her own words, "does not want to waste a vacation day". Selbstsuchtig = selfish anyone?

She does not adhere to a phone schedule with him. Mein Deutscher calls almost everyday. Usually with no joy as both the house and cell phone go unanswered. Two or three days later she will call and leave a message about how the Bubbie "did not feel like talking on the phone" for one reason or another. I get a bit huffy on that one... He is six, tell him he needs to talk to his Papa before he can watch Nick Jr or before he gets to go play outside. Even if it is just 60 seconds, I love the way my German's face lights up just hearing that little voice pipe up with "hi, Papa". Not being a full time mom or step mom, I am not sure if he is always that way; however, if it were me, my mother would tell me I needed to talk to my father before moving on to another thing... Oh wait a minute, that really did happen! Daddy traveled extensively when I was younger and that was the rule....

She approaches me with issues, questions, travel plans; however, when I breach the subject of travel first I am told I "am not his parent". True; however, fair's fair. If you approach me allow me the same courtesy to approach you. I am not trying to be his mother. He has a mother and when I married the German, I sent her a very heartfelt note telling her that I know my role is to cherish and encourage and love the Bubbie and watch out for his well being.

I am blessed to not be a product of divorce. The German is as well. None of my closest friends are the children of divorced parents nor are they step parents. Same thing with my boat-load of aunt and uncles. It is a slippery slope and I have no frame of reference for it. Never do I want to be compared to what seems to be the negatives of being a step mom. It is far too Cinderalla-esque for my tastes.

So I am calling all mom's and step mom's for advice as to how to handle the situation. Thoughts? Suggestions? All are welcome.

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