When I came home from Valley Fair, I noticed a red spot in my undergarments. This was the turning point of my relationship with my step-mother. Quite frankly, after my father had married my step-mother, I felt my world shattered and then melted into a misshapen mold. This is to say that prior to this marriage, it was just my father and I. I got everything I wanted. Essentially, I was the center of his world. I thoroughly enjoyed this though, I must admit, growing up with no mother made me feel left out. I wasn’t invited to sleepovers or tea parties or even princess parties because I had no mother to socialize with my friends’ mothers.
My father did the best he could in keeping up with the social gossip the mothers of the class would host at class gatherings. He played both roles of father and mother in that he took me to get my nails done every other week, bought me clothes from the girl’s section at Macy’s, and played dolls with me, but it just wasn’t the same. I never felt truly able to talk about girl stuff, boys in the class I thought were cute, or what music I wanted to listen and sing along to, though I’m sure he’d have been more than willing to buy me the CD and learn the lyrics with me.
This void and exclusion which I saw every day growing up bothered me, but I didn’t concentrate much energy on it. I knew this dilemma existed but did not see how much it bothered me until we were in second grade, a time period when birthday parties were exclusive and not everyone in the class was invited. I wasn’t invited to a majority of the parties because my father was always working and couldn’t always ensure attending these events to socialize with the parents. I couldn’t possibly be upset at him for being a parent trying to fill both roles.
I loved him very much in all he was doing, but I became an outlier for only having a father and no mother. As I stated, this didn’t necessarily resonate with me as a reason for why I wasn’t invited to some birthday parties. I simply thought I wasn’t invited because I hadn’t played with that classmate enough on the playground. Never did I draw the conclusion that it was because I had no mother that I wasn’t being invited to events.
In June of 2011 when I was in the fourth grade, my father remarried. I wasn’t used to sharing—not only my father, but the attention. I wasn’t use to not being the center of my father’s world. I wasn’t use to suddenly being invited to every party in the class.
I completely despised my step-mother because she was interfering with me being the center of my father’s world and the amount of attention I was receiving from him, or lack thereof. My mind was set on ensuring I would restore the attention unanimously. I was set out on a mission to get her out of the picture, though I meant no harm. I became more obnoxious in my ways, or flamboyant rather, and did not approve of the two spending time without me included.
As time went on, I got over my ego. I began to understand that my father was happy when he was with her. I was happy when she was around because she was new. She was a foreign figure in my life and that was somewhat exhilarating yet, annoying at the same time. She began to question how my day was from school, make me pancakes every morning or sometimes chocolate chip waffles before I went to school. She bathed me, swam with me, taught me tennis and how to double dutch. She made time to come to school events and socialize with my friends and their mothers. Periodically, she’d check in with my instructors to ensure I was paying attention in class and doing well on tests and if there were ways to improve my work ethic.
All of this was foreign territory to me. I began to become in liking of her behavior, though it sounds weird to say. This was a person who came into my life, with some knowledge that I was a single child thus the center of my father’s world. The way she dealt with my attitude, immature obstacles I posed to interrupt the two of them—I commend her. She was patient and allowed me to learn as time went on.
I began to have such a growing relationship with her that I started calling her mom instead of nothing. Prior to adapting to her presence, I wouldn’t even call her by any name but rather just begin a conversation with what I wanted to say. This left an uneasy feeling for her, as I would imagine. It was as though I didn’t even acknowledge her as a person enough to call her by her name.
She took me to the movies, talked to me about cute guys in my class, took me grocery shopping with her, went to the nail salon together and picked out colors for one another, made dinners for dad when he got home—it was like having my best friend live with me.
One time when we went to Valley Fair during the summer of fifth grade, I came home and saw a red spot in my undergarments. I opened the door and called mom into the bathroom with me. She told me to come up to her room and she’d explain something to me. When I got to the room, she had a pair of fresh undergarments on the bed for me and had taken out a maxi pad. She explained to me that I had just had my period, a time where I was now beginning to grow to be a young woman.
I can’t really think back and wonder what it would’ve been like had she not been my mom. If my father were in that situation of having to see the red spot, he’d probably call my grandmother to consult. As cliche as it sounds, getting my period brought my mom and I closer.
My mom was no longer someone whom I despised wholeheartedly; she was my best friend. We did everything together. We gossiped together, among other things. It was fun. We started TV marathons together on the weekends, went to soccer practice and games together. She’d cut oranges and bring them for my entire team just because. It was the small things that allowed me to grow closer with her and appreciate her more.
Today, I cannot begin to imagine not having her in my life. I go to her for everything, come home from school and reiterate my honors astronomy lecture to her just because I love the topic. I know she doesn’t necessarily care about the class but she loves seeing my enthusiasm and passion for the class. We send Bitmoji to one another at least 43 times a day instead of texting one another. Whenever she calls me on the phone she says “Hello” but in the tone of Adele, attempting to mimic the song. She burns my quesadillas and forgets how to make toast, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.