At The Edge Of The Ocean, We Can Start Over Again
I have officially been married for One Week, 9 hours and 11 minutes. It’s so unreal- in a completely fantastic way. You think about your wedding for your entire life, from the moment you know what a wedding is, what a marriage is. Somehow it seems like this illusive thing that is somehow unattainable. You see other people get married- and you also see a lot of people divorce. It becomes a thing to desire, to fear, to revere, to respect. It is a point of utmost wonder and curiosity. Dating, you wonder if this is the one, the person to make your lifelong partner. Those relationships come and go… and then one day someone changes you, changes your world, and you just know that it’s right. Through all of the planning and discussion, somehow it still feels like just a bunch of words, plans that, despite all of your efforts, seem to organize that illusive day that will never come. But then it does. It happens. You marry, and it’s the most amazing day. It’s the first time all of your dreams have come true. You laugh, you cry. It isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for you because it isn’t perfect. And then the day is over and you’re married. It feels so surreal. Like… wow. It’s really here.
Before my wedding, I started to think a lot about my ex. I should be more specific. I started to think a lot about the life I had with my ex- our relationship, the mistakes we made, who I was then. In as many ways as I have stayed the same, I have also changed so radically in the years since. I think my mind wanted to be sure that this was a direction I wanted to take my life in, that I was ready to turn my back on the kind of life that would not nurture a partnership with someone else. After all, I have had dreams that would only really suit an independent lifestyle. I know that if I still chose to pursue it, my Husband would support me and be proud, but it would rob him of his search for purpose. It would be unstable. It wouldn’t be the kind of life that nurtures starting a family
I think that’s the one thing that has us both a little unsettled. Aside from our current financial dilemmas, we no longer have a commitment problem standing in the way of having a baby. I think he may be more frightened of the idea than he’s willing to let on. He says it doesn’t scare him to think of me pregnant now. But despite telling him that I am ready when he is ready (not that I’m in a rush, it would be nice to be married for a bit) he hasn’t entertained the idea at all.
My 6-year old step-daughter is crying a lot. It started shortly before the wedding. Alas, her Mother hates me. There was a year prior to our marriage of court dates and intense animosity, nasty emails and absolute libel on her part. We received written threats, and to this day she refers to me as “slapper” instead of my name (it’s the British term for “whore”). She accused me of stealing him away from her. Funny, but even when my Husband and I were just acquaintances, he insisted she hadn’t even been a girlfriend- just a friend with benefits he made a mistake with. Heck, he was sleeping with other women back then.
I am afraid of the things she may have said to my Step-Daughter. She cries- all the time. She is very affectionate with me- wanting hugs and cuddles, lets me hold her and share her bed. But when my Husband and I tell her how much we love her, if we kiss her face and hug her tight, she starts to cry. She cries when she has to go home. But then sometimes she cries if she is away from her Mom for too long. Her sister says she cries all night and all day. She doesn’t seem to sleep much- only since we’ve had her here, and then she sleeps all day. Something is going on and we’re concerned- we can’t get her to tell us what it is. Her 18-year old sister moved back in a few months ago, after years of living apart. Now she’s getting married and talking about moving out- to another province. My step-daughter really missed her sister and it was usually the reason for her tears, previously. Apparently her Mom and Sister fight a lot at home. I can imagine that is very stressful- losing her sister again, and living in a home where constant fighting is common.
To add to things, her Mom is internet dating. Her most recent man is from the UK and flew in a day or two ago to meet for the first time. She only told this man she had kids in the last week or two before he came. To make matters worse, he is staying in her house with her two daughters. I may not have given birth, but I consider myself to be someone who takes to motherhood naturally. The fact that this man, who could have said anything, told any lies, painted himself any shade of innocent, who we know nothing about, is not staying in a hotel, alarms me. Furthermore, the fact that this woman has not considered at all that she is endangering her children by letting a perfect stranger into her home, tarnishes a previously untainted opinion I had of her. I may not have liked her, but I had a positive view of her as a parent. Unfortunately both of our lives have previously been effected by sexual abuse in some context or another. I used my experience to protect the people I care about- to be aware. But she seems to not have learned her lesson.
I’ve begged my Husband to get involved, to protect our daughter from her poor judgment, but he tells me not to worry and to try to be more trusting. I do hope that this man is what he seems, but are we supposed to take that chance with our child? How involved should I get as the step-parent? If she were my biological daughter, I’d be taking this issue to Child Protective Services and petitioning for temporary custody until this man has gone home. I’d be requesting a criminal record check- something- Some hard proof that this is within throwing distance of safe.
Her Grandparents are as concerned as I am. We’ve even talked about staging an intervention of sorts. Tonight this man is staying in our daughter’s home. How do I sleep not knowing she’s safe, going only on my Husband’s brief, monosyllabic encounter with this total stranger? If anyone has an opinion, some encouraging words, some advice- I wish you’d share it.
She may not be my biological child, but I love her, all the same. It’s my duty to protect her with my life.