“Do you know, when Dad and I get married I’ll be your stepmum?” I caught the basketball he’d bounced to me, tucked it into my stomach, and bent down so I could see his eyes as I waited for a reaction.
I wasn’t sure what my soon-to-be-stepson understood as a seven-year-old. He’d been playing weddings with his toys and seemed excited about the idea but it can be hard to tell with shy kids.
“Actually, you’ll be my only mum,” he said quietly.
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I never wanted to have boys. Before I had kids, I prayed my future babies would be girls. It’s not that I would’ve been upset if I’d had a boy, I just had no idea how I’d cope.
I’m not a high-energy person and the small boys I knew were loud, active, and chaotic. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle that. Would I be constantly telling them off and sending them outside?
I imagined myself rocking in a corner, surrounded by broken furniture, and piles of muddy clothes. I knew it was an irrational thought, but I couldn’t help it.
I’d been raised with sisters and I knew how to deal with girls. Babies did come along eventually and, to my great relief, both were girls.
When I started seeing my new partner a couple of years ago, I knew he had a little boy and it made me nervous.
Initially, we didn’t tell his son we were dating. We wanted to make sure it was a long-term thing before we involved the kids. I suspect his son guessed though.
I’d catch him eyeing me up sideways, as if he was trying to figure out why this strange lady kept hanging around him and his dad. I tried to give them space for dad-son alone time as much as possible.
After all, I was getting used to the idea of a potential stepson too. But the more time we spent together the more I found myself wanting to win him over. I started to wonder if raising boys wasn’t as scary as I thought, although I still felt clueless.
My stepson, rather than loud and busy, is the deep-thinking, quiet type. He’s reserved with most people, even family members, so when he finally relaxed around me, I was honoured.