By Sofia Rasmussen
Already as a child, I decided I would never be part of a divorced family again.
When I would be old enough, I’d marry the right man, have three dark-haired children with high cheekbones and never ever get divorced.
In my next family there would be no stepmother. There would only be a mother and a father. Everyone would love each other equally as much, and what had once been wrong, would be immediately righted.
But few things turn out the way we imagine them to be, and I met my boyfriend’s son on a spring day in 2009.
Tobias was 4 years old and worked diligently on a collection of insects he would confine in a red plastic bucket. There was something about this blond boy that I did not recognize from my own childhood; he was distant and withdrawn. But I did recognize the world of spiders, yellow buttercups, beetles, and grass on the bottom of a bucket as a time capsule of something we do not get back.
I did not want to be a stepmother. My own experience with having a stepmother was ambivalent. As a child, I often felt that I was on the verge of belonging and not – it was a matter of a few inches – and my stepmother was in control.
I needed to know she cared for me so I wouldn’t lose my footing, and, therefore, I was a chameleon; I could not figure out how to be honest with her.
When she painted a picture or bought some new clothes, she would show me and ask:
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
And I always said yes, always. As if the truth would peel off all my humanity like a third degree burn and reveal an ugly, black crater: I figured it would be easier to love a yes rather than a no.
My parents got divorced when I was almost 3 years old. Immediately after the divorce, I moved into a small apartment with my father. When I was 4 years old we moved again, this time with my stepmother and her two children.
Tobias was also 4 years old when I moved into the house he had shared with his mom and dad. Continue Reading…