Dear Little Dudes,
Thirteen, remember how yesterday someone asked me if you were my son? I am writing this letter to let you and your brother know that in my head, I faced the always-there questions: will this new person ever find out that I’m lying if I just say: “yes?” will this get back to the rest of your family? will someone catch me if I claim you as my own?
I’m not sure if you two have noticed – especially because for so many years you have been so gleeful to tell people that I’m NOT your mother, and perhaps because I’m so quick to say “but you two HAVE a mother,” – but I am constantly weighing the pros and cons of just saying “Yes, this IS my son.” And it’s not out of any kind of creepy acquisition or or baby-stealing desire, I promise. Out of respect for you and for your mom, of course I will keep calling you my stepsons. It’s just… I’m so tired of the term “step” being so loaded. I don’t want you to think that love you any less than I do, or even less than I possibly could. Stepson is not a less-than proposition. You are my only sons, my lovely and infuriating and charming sons. It’s just that – you ARE my stepsons. That’s the way this family was built. And in a world of labels and buckets, where it seems like everyone must fit in just so or risk tearing the fabric of society irreparably, well. I’m forever reduced to expediency, honesty, and respect, and I have to tell people you’re my stepson.
Thirteen, after you and I got home last night there was nothing better in the world than sitting on the loveseat next to you and prepping for your next big math project (due next tuesday) while you sawed on a harmonica like a politely surly hobo. Nine, having you sit across the room on the couch fiercely creating things in minecraft while your dad looked up hedgehog videos on his phone – I’m hard put to describe a better fifteen minutes of family bliss.
So, look: you both delight me. I am devoted to your success and happiness. I brag on you and bite my tongue so as not to be boring to other people who aren’t as interested in you as I am. I’m sorry that there are so many evil stepmonster stories out there and they all make “stepson” feel like such a sad term. I am so proud of my stepsons. And honestly, I’m not worried that you aren’t aware of how much I love and care for you. I think we do a pretty good job of telling each other how we feel. But sometimes I want to make the world understand that too. You two are amazing, and interesting, and sometimes intolerable. You’re my kids. My stepkids, but — That’s not less than anything. It’s all of everything.
Your horribly embarrassing stepmonster.
PS: I am writing this as an open letter so you never have to read it or hear it from me, and if you do read it, you can pretend it never happened. BUT IT’S ALL TRUE. LOVE YOU, PEACHES.
Sappiest post yet for number 4: #35to36