“I genuinely adore this girl”-Jenn
In the United States, on average, 50% of marriage ends in divorce. This means that there are more and more families dealing with single parenting and coparenting every year. 73% of divorcees do move on to seek companionship which leads to a new relationship and even a 2nd marriage.
Meet Jenn. This is her testimony…
The most frustrating aspect of being a step-mom is carrying the emotional responsibility of having that child in your life, without any of the rights. Your heart aches for them. If they are struggling in school , you worry. Are they getting enough out of school? You worry. Shouldn’t they have more access to extracurricular activities? You worry. Are they being taught the necessities of life? Yes, but their “real mom” gets to make that call, not me.
One particular year, my husband’s ex-wife sent a certified letter in the mail to inform my husband that she was going to be moving from our state to another state across the country and would be taking their daughter. Our daughter. This was a short two or three sentence letter. She felt that this was sufficient notice.
My husband was generally one to not make waves, whatever it took to keep the peace. He asked his daughter, “Do you even WANT to move?”, and the response was, “Well, dad, it’s a new start. I only see you from Friday to Sunday every other weekend, so it’s not a big deal.” His input in her life was completely minimized, even though he had consistently taken his parenting time and paid his child support. His ex-wife was going to change everyone’s lives without concern for all parties impacted. Not even our daughters.
I had never seen my husband cry like he did that night, nor have I since. The grief that he felt, the depth of sadness. I felt it too, but it wasn’t the same. My son was devastated because he loved his step sister. No, HIS sister. There is no step in our family.
I was the one who told my husband: “We are not letting her go. We are getting an attorney and I don’t care what it costs.” I was the one who initiated calls to the attorney. I set up the appointment for the initial consultation. I helped to comb through the documents my husband had, and raged at the holes that he never bothered to notice! How much control that she was taking in areas that were supposed to be joint decision-making! He was going to let her go if that’s what she wanted! I demanded he stand up to her. His ex-wife was so used to calling the shots, I wasn’t going to let it happen.
I know she’s still bitter about that situation years later. She had to get an attorney and she lost. She wasn’t allowed to leave the county with our girl, and it threw a wrench in her plans. It was the best $13,000 we ever spent.
The attorney made it clear though, that this was not my battle to fight. I stayed home during all of the court appearances, on the advice of our attorney. Those days were difficult. I wanted to be there. I wanted someone to ask me how I felt, or how much my family would be impacted, but no one did. I had to sit back and pray and wait with my stomach in knots, for my husband to call with an update.
I know in a few years, a wonderful young man is going to ask her to marry him. There’s going to be a wedding to plan, and a dress to pick out. I feel certain that I won’t be a part of those events. That’s something for her mom. When she has babies, who is going to be in the delivery room? Her mom. I genuinely adore this girl, and I consider her the easier of my kids, including the one that I birthed. I couldn’t love her more. However, I don’t know that she will ever really know and understand that.