You know those awful, terrible dreams where you’re screaming but no sound will come out?
Unheard. That’s what being a step mama feels like sometimes.
Tears falling, I told my husband in shaky tones, “It’s like I’m sitting in a chair in the pitch black dark. . .and I’m saying, ‘Hello? Is anyone there? I’m so scared.’ But no one answers. So I say it again, louder this time. ‘I’m so scared. Can anyone hear me? Is anyone there?’ And the longer no one answers, the more hysterical I feel. I start speaking louder and start to scream. I just want someone to answer. I want someone to say, ‘You’re okay! There is nothing to be afraid of- it just seems scary because it’s unknown! You are safe.’ But no one does. So I just sit in the darkness.”
Isolated. That’s what being a step mama feels like sometimes.
It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable. I feel like I’m faking it when the three of us are out in public. Like everyone thinks we are a “normal” family, like them, but I’m so afraid for people to start asking questions. I walk into Nyra’s kindergarten classroom, kiss her on the cheek, watch her run to her friend and notice that half her braid is still in her shirt. Her friend who cannot be older than five and a half looks at me and says…”So, you’re the step mother?”
And then sometimes, like Parent-Teacher night, my cover is blown. Everyone knows because, well, Nyra does not have two moms and a dad who all live together. Not the way it works. Of course, very few people are actually paying attention to this, but my insecurity is at its peak.
Imposter. That is what a step mama feels like sometimes.
There are people who cut right to the chase and go ahead and ask the uncomfortable questions. Hello, stranger. Yes, my husband did have a child before me. Nope, not mine! Did the long blonde hair give it away? Does that seem like something I would want to discuss with you?
Then there are the folks who shut down immediately when they discover that Nyra is in fact my stepdaughter. All of the sudden there is a hurdle between us, I am the “other kind of people.” Hello, it’s nice to meet you, my family is founded on brokenness. I’m sure I am particularly oversensitive to this – but I feel it.
Normally stressful decisions, like where a child will go to school, multiply intensely in blended family scenarios. Too many opinions. Different philosophies. Money concerns. Even in the best of situations, conflict is abundant when it comes to things like this.
It gets so overwhelming sometimes.
It’s painful, and it’s so tempting to want to just take the edge off. I want that extra glass of wine, that pint of ice cream, to lose myself in a different story than this terrifying one. It feels like it’s just too much to be still and feel all the feelings.
I have no answers except I know that He hears us. In that dark terrifying room where I can’t see a thing He says, “I am Light and in Me there is no darkness at all.”
Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise.