Stepmommin’ ain’t easy.
I do not have any children, and I have difficulty keeping plants and pets alive, so the good Lord knew what He was doing when He opted a hard pass on this option in my life.
I do, however, have a 13-year-old who visits my home every other weekend to spend time with his dad, who happens to be my fiancé.
He – the 13-year-old – says hilarious things like, “There’s nothing to drink in the whole house.”
Deep breath. “Did you check the fridge?”
“Yeah, there’s just tea and root beer and Dr Pepper and Sprite and milk. Ugh.”
I’m sorry. Would you like me to fix you a mojito with fresh mint leaves?
Then there’s the conversation that begins with me saying, “You can’t wear a dirty T-shirt and gym shorts to church.”
His classic response: “It’s not dirty. It’s stained.”
And you know what’s ironic about this whole situation? He’s actually a really, really good kid. He’s polite and respectful and kind to others. He’s wise beyond his years and he occasionally makes a basket when he aims his rotten garbage at the trash can. He tries. And let’s cut him a little slack; he’s a teenager. He’s got enough problems without having a weird stepmonster to deal with.
I could throw up my hands and freak out over the fact that he wants to watch an R-rated movie or play a violent video game, but instead I just say a silent prayer of gratitude to the woman who deals with this child on the other 26 days of every month.
I’ve been in this game for a very short time; she’s the original gangsta.
Rita, Adin’s mother, is such a blessing to me. The first time I met her, we went to Chili’s – just the two of us – after a Little League game. We told stories and laughed and became good friends. She’s invited me to her home to do craft projects and she always includes me on group texts about Adin. She gives me Christmas presents. When she needs to communicate something important, she bypasses Blayne and just says, “Let me talk to April.” Those little things are appreciated. She has welcomed me with open arms into a pretty unconventional situation.
It can’t be easy to be a single mom of not just the teenager but a precocious 9-year-old to boot. And maybe it’s a little weird to see some other woman posting photos of your kid on Facebook and seeing comments about how great he is. I’d be thinking, “Yeah, he is pretty great. You’re welcome!”
Rita takes it all in stride and never makes me feel uncomfortable for intruding on the slightly dysfunctional family unit she has built up over all these years.
Rita is hilarious, resilient, silly and fun. She has a great quality that I do not possess: she goes with the flow. She rolls with it. She’s the classic boy mom. I don’t know that I’ve ever said it, but I genuinely admire her. She juggles a full-time job along with being a mom and while she would probably object to the word “grace,” I’m gonna throw it out there. She does it with grace. And humor. I mean that. I would have called in sick by day three.
Here’s to you, my friend. You’ve earned yourself a mojito. I’ll bring the mint leaves.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.