Friends, let me preface this with telling you it is probably not of any interest to you, and definitely more laundry than I should air, but feel like just getting it off my chest. So, with that in mind, keep reading if you bother...
That being said, if anyone in my family reads this (though I doubt many family members do) take nothing personally. If you do, I am sorry.
I've said that my conception was not one of the best circumstances. My mom was in love with, and ditched by, the sperm donor. She met and married my dad when I was a baby, and the rest has been history.
My mom died five years ago. My dad met a very nice woman a little later and remarried. I am very happy that he's happy. I know he loves her and she makes him happy, and though my parents didn't always have the shining example of a loving marriage I hope to have for Emma (gotta keep working on that one J ) I know my mom would want him happy and I am glad he is. His new wife is a nice woman, and I have always liked her and been glad she makes my dad happy. She has two daughters, who were near adult when they married, and they are just that to me...my dad's wife's daughters. Perhaps if I had lost my mom when I was a child and he remarried and we became a blended family, they may be more. That was not the case, though, and as a 30 year old, losing her mom, I did not feel that my dad's marriage automatically meant I now had to be part of a new family. I was fine with what I had, and more, fine with the fact that my dad had a wife with kids and if he wanted to be a 'dad' to them, well, all the power to him, but that did not mean that I, at 32, needed to assume big sister role to his new wife's children. Nor did I want to. I don't think that makes me a bad person, it simply means that I had a childhood family, I was an adult, and though I would certainly consider his wife and kids familial, I did not all of a sudden gain a new family. Here's the problem...he, in his quest to be a good man (and he is) and to prove that loving his wife means loving everything about her (a quality that also endeared him greatly to my mom) basically told my siblings and me this: "This is your step-mother, these are your step-sisters, like it or not, we're family." Well, nothing creates an us vs. them mentality like that, let me tell you...well, actually, receiving the first Christmas card from "The Mullins Family"--a family I previously thought I was part of--sort of put a divided stance in there...though not intentional, I know.
So...after several conversations that in truth, I wish I was never a part of, the bottom line boiled down to me as this: My dad married my mom and I was part of the package. He loved her, so he learned to (and I know still does) love me. Same thing now for his wife and her daughters. He loves her, so he loves them...which, in his mind, puts the step-daughters he met a couple years ago and ME, the daughter he RAISED, on equal footing. Neither share his blood, came to him as a package deal, but he loves us and we are his daughters.
Now, this is the point where in my mind (and out loud sometimes) I scream, "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?" "YOU RAISED ME. You put bandaids on my cuts and taught me to ride a bike and swim and took me to the spelling bee and rubbed my legs when they hurt (though you lied about them being growing pains because I SO did not grow!) and WALKED ME DOWN THE FREAKING AISLE!!!!!) HOW ON EARTH CAN YOUR NEW WIFE'S DAUGHTERS BE PUT ON THE SAME PLATFORM AS ME? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME MORE--PERIOD."
Please don't think me unfair in my yelling at my dad (because of course, I can't) but understand that this cuts through my heart like a knife. What makes me special to him? If new 'daughters' (GROWN, remember) come along and have the same place in his heart, well...
I share all this because earlier today we had a conversation in which he expressed his disappointment that I didn't send a graduation gift/card/acknowledgement to one of his 'step-daughters' earlier in the year and it hurt both him and his wife. For that, I am sorry, but in truth, this 'step-sister' is an adult, does not send ME cards or emails or express any interest in me (which is fine with me because again, I am an ADULT and have siblings and am content with and feel that just as she is my dad's wife's daughter, I am her mom's husband's daughter and that still just makes us familial, not necessarily family) and I don't really feel that terrible. So, his comparison? And I quote...
"Lori, and this is purely hypothetical, you are adopting a daughter, right?" (Why he needs to distinguish that I am adopting escapes me, basically, I am just preparing to have a baby, but whatever...)
"Well, what if something like that happened and I didn't send a card or acknowledge?"
"I'd cut you out of my (and her) life so fast your head would spin because there would be NO REASON to do that to your GRANDCHILD and BLOOD OR NO BLOOD, that is what she is."
"This step-daughter, on the other hand, is someone that until 3 years ago I didn't know existed and forgive me if I don't feel quite the same attachment."
And that was that.
Again, let me reiterate that my dad is a wonderful man and was a wonderful father and I lacked for nothing. But, I'm putting it out there now.
I will NEVER let Emma feel that she is anything but meant to be my child from the second she was conceived REGARDLESS of her blood, or how she came to me. If ANYONE I know feels the need to differentiate her in ANY way because she is adopted, they will NEVER see her, nor me again. It will be as if they never existed. And anyone who knows me knows that when I mean business, I MEAN business.
Of course she will know she is adopted, but she will know that mainly because I need to let her know that she was MEANT to be with me, and if it meant that I had to adopt her to get her, well, that's what happened. And anyone who has issues with any of that can...well...nice knowing you.
Forgive the bitterness. My goal in life will be that Emma never feels this pain. Ever.