Friday, 9 October 2009

Love for my stepdaughter

Not many of you know this, but as well as being Mother to my two little monkeys, I am also a step-mother to an almost 18-year-old. I haven't ever mentioned her on this blog because, well (a) I've never asked her permission (erm, still haven't actually, so Als - please don't hold this against me) and (b) she doesn't live with us, so on a day-to-day basis my role as step mother isn't a hugely active one. However, I've just read a thread for a discussion on British Mummy Bloggers about being a step parent, and I thought 'well yes, I guess that does apply to me', so in light of that, and the fact that she's coming to stay for the weekend, I thought I'd share with you a little bit about Alex.

I first met Alex when she was five years old, the age that Renée, my eldest is now. Her father and I had just worked together on our maiden job (filming a team climbing Mont Blanc) and we were collecting her from Lyon airport where she'd been staying with her grandparents, to bring her back home to Bath, where she still lives now. Although her father and I weren't 'together' at that point, I was already developing a little crush on him and was therefore anxious that his daughter would like me. (And before you start thinking of me as a hideous homewrecker, her parents had already split-up before we met...just thought I'd clear that up)!

'Can I brush your hair?' she asked me as we sat down at the cafe. 'Tu est tres jolie'. (And for those of you who don't speak French, she told me that I was very pretty). I knew we'd get along...(She also told me that I had hairy arms, but hey, I forgive her. She was five at the time).

And now she's almost 18 and I still find her just as enchanting as she was 13 years ago. I'd like to say that we've had our 'moments', but actually I can't remember a time when we haven't got on. She's been a teenager and slammed doors and wanted to wear clothes that weren't exactly appropriate for either the weather or her age, but I don't think we've ever argued about a thing.

Alex, correct me if I'm wrong. My memory isn't what it used to be! And besides, I still have manflu so my judgement could be somewhat clouded. But seriously, I love you and I care so much about you and despite the fact that you're now taller than me and have bigger boobs (yes, for those of you that know me I know that's not saying much - be kind), I will always feel protective of you.

Alex, my darling, you are amazing. You are everything I could ever hope for my daughters to be. You are so beautiful and bright and clever and funny and kind and kind of cool too. If I was your age, I'd want you to be my friend. I want to hang out with you and laugh and share all the things that you share with your friends. I look at you and know that you could do anything you ever wanted to do with your life. You have that special thing about you. You impress me. Thank you for being such a wonderful person, a fantastic stepdaughter and an amazing big sister.

This morning, your little sister, Edie, was in a bad mood...a two-year-old bad mood which involved a total refusal to cooperate in any way. She didn't want to get out of bed, she cried and made herself rigid when I attempted to put her clothes on, she ran away and hid when I told her that it was time to go to nursery. I thought 'Crikey, this is going to be a looooooong day', but then I remembered you were coming to stay for the weekend and I knew that the moment I told her, she would change her mood around.

And she did.

'Alex is coming to stay Edie', I told her. 'She'll be here tomorrow morning when you wake up'.

She stopped crying at once. She smiled. She even did a little dance. And in that one moment, I was so grateful for you, even though you weren't here, and I just wanted to let you know how much your sisters adore you, as we all do.

Thank you for always loving them and never once feeling resentful that they came along. You are a truly special person.

And by the way, don't think that you'll be sleeping in tomorrow morning because Renée has already told me that the first thing she's going to do when she wakes up is to jump on your bed.

You have been warned.


  1. Golly, I had no idea. She sounds wonderful and I imagine you are a fantastic stepmother, too - nothing like Cinderella or Snow White's evil ones! I know step-parents are more and more common in this day and ages, but I am always impressed at people (both the children and the step-parents) who succeed with such a relationship. (Perhaps because of all those fairytale!)

    Hope you all have a lovely weekend together.

  2. What a lovely post,I am myself a stepmother to an almost 18 year old stepson, who I love the bones off, he is also a great brother and my smurf loves him to pieces, its nice to see some positive stuff about step families for a change.

  3. the man i refer to as "dad" on my blog is actually my step father, who i met when i was 11. he is an amazing person who has made our entire family so happy. he is the man who walked me down the isle, the man who attended my parents evenings, the man my children call granddad. he is my true father.

  4. a lovely post, glad you made it!

  5. Aahh...she sounds wonderful! I'm step-mum to OH 14yr old son & 21 yr old daughter. I'm not sure I've been a great step-mum, maybe just OK, there have been some conflicts along the way. We really only see 14 yr old now, 2 nights every week, as 21yr old is at Uni in Falmouth & loving it! Can't get her to come back and I must admit I do miss her a little, she is a lovely, gentle, sweet person. Have a lovely weekend with your 'girls' xx

  6. Oh Oh! I'm all teary! That was beautiful! And hello Alex - you sound like an absolute star.

    MT I wish you had been my step-mother. She was most definitely of the evil Snow White variety. Quite unbelievably evil actually. Thank you for restoring my faith in step-mothers a little - nice to know there are some nice ones out there ;-)

    Have a wonderful weekend xx

  7. What a great post - and what a great person Alex seems to be. Good to read that it can be that way, too!

    xx D

  8. That is so lovely - the relationship with my step Mums (there have been 2 ?!?) was never brilliant - but my step dad (although I never thought of him as a step dad) was - and now Robert is 'step dad' to my two so it is a subject close to my heart - I think at times being a step parent must seem like a thankless task but you seem to have got it right - good for you - if you have such a good relationship with Alex then the merit will be both hers and yours - how lovely to read such a good post on one of today's many modern families!

  9. That's a lovely post. I have three step-children so can relate to your comments, although yours sounds a gem. Mine are precious when they want to be...

  10. A lovely post, and fantastic to read how wonderful a relationship you have developed.

  11. I cant believe Alex is 18!! I remember her from your wedding... she was beautiful then, bet she is a stunner now.

    So glad you get on so well...

    Much love to you all


  12. Bath?!
    I always assumed she lived deep in the Limousin or something.
    Not that it matters.

  13. How lovely. I have just met a new mum from school, who has 2 step daughters of similar ages (as well as 2 young boys of her own) and she is just as besotted. She refers to them as her daughters - although not in any way to denigrate the mum, who she gets on with well.

    I am hoping that when my ex finds the new 'love' in his life that she will be just as generous to my boys - find as much love for them as you have for Alex. It really reassures me that it is possible, because it wasn't my experience when my dad remarried (although saying that, we do get on very well now...24 years later).

    Thank youxx

  14. What a beautifully written post, it brought tears to my eyes. I'm so pleased that you and your stepdaughter have such a fantastic relationship. And thank you so much for popping into my blog x

  15. I do love the dynamic between siblings! Hope she enjoys the wake up call. Thanks for visiting my blog and the comment, it's good to hear other mums experience the same. Saffia

  16. What a great tribute to your step-daughter. I'm sure she'll love reading it. I too have an awesome step-daughter who'll be 21 shortly. We met when she was 15 and we've never had a single run-in. I feel sooo lucky. The boys adore her.

  17. Sounds like you have totally managed to get that relationship right. And she sounds so lovely. The little girls must LOVE her. They are so lucky. When they get older they will have someone older who they can talk to and get advice from who isn't a parent. That relationship is a very special one. x

  18. What a lovely post! But you know, what I read about you through your posts shows that you are a lovely caring person and a great mum so it's a tribute to you that you get on so well with your stepdaughter. What's not to love?! Have a great weekend x

  19. That's a lovely tribute and a heartwarming story.

  20. Aw...what a sweet post. It's always nice to have a role model for the little ones too.

  21. This is a lovely dedication to Alex I am sure she has deep feelings for you as well!

  22. I too have a stepdaughter, aged 14. I had a terrible stepmother and I vowed that I would never let my own stepdaughter feel the way I did growing up.

    It's bloody hard work, but something that I'm really proud of. Hopefully she values my friendship as much as I value hers.

  23. I'm a step mum too. When my own son was born I remember my stepson saying well I know you'll love him more than you love me and that's okay.
    I was shocked by his words. I thought for a minute and repied "I will love him differently to you. All mothers love each child differently because each child is unique and special. But always remember I chose to love you. Not because I had to. Not because I gave birth to you, but because I wanted too. That is a very precious kind of love."
    We never had that conversation again. We do tell each other often how much we love each other.
    Here's to mum's and step mum's everywhere.

  24. That was beautiful - note to self..must stop crying at laptop - husband concerned. Anyway my Pal Tara has started a Meme - getting you to get your small ones to draw you, I have done it and now am passing it on so I have tagged you at my blog (hope this is OK) - enjoy the results

  25. Hello you,
    Sorry its been a while since my last visit to your blog.
    This was a lovely post. My daughter has a Step-Mum and I hope she is as generous of spirit as you are.
    xx jo

  26. Tasha - Thanks honey (and completely changing the subject here - yay for the birth of Eleanor - well done you). Back to the post - yes, I think stepparents have been given a bad rap, but like you say, it's more and more common these days so the likelihood of finding an example that works is much greater...

    Lorraine - Ooh sounds similar. And yes, my children adore ALex. When she left this weekend they cried :-((

    allgrownup - Aaah darling that is so lovely. What a wonderful story. He sounds like an amazing man. So yes, it is possible... xx

    Helen - Thanks honey. Yep, after all these years!! Who'd have thought?!

  27. Brighton Mum - I'm sure you've been a fantastic stepmum darling - anyway, can not have been easy with 4 of your own! I can't imagine what it's like when they're all there at once! And thanks, yes had a great weekend x

    Insomniac - Thanks darling xx

    Josie - Aaah - I would have loved to have been your step mum (although that would make me a granny already) and I'm not sure I'm ready for that just yet! Sorry to hear that your stepmother was awful...I guess it takes all. Must have been horrible for you. Big kiss xx

    Met Mum - Yep, I definitely think it's possible to make it work...but it has to come from both sides I think. Alex is easy to get on with (as I hope I am too)!!

    Kathryn - Thanks honey - and yes, I think you're right - it takes effort on both sides to make it work. I think both Alex and I have been lucky - not only have we wanted it to work, but we've tried to make it work as well.

  28. A really wonderful, positive post lady - I hope you all had a fabulous time together. :-)

  29. Maddie - Heh heh!! Yes, I think all children can be precious when they want to be (not just stepchildren). But I guess it is easier when they're your own. I think one of the main reasons why Alex and I have 'worked' is that there's only 18 years between us (and I still 'think' I'm young at heart) so I'm able to still relate to most of what she's going through. Easier than being from a completely different generation I think.

    SPD - Thanks dude. Yep, it has definitely developed over the years...but she's made it easy too.

    Radha - I know - can you believe it?? She'll be 18 in a couple of weeks. Can't quite believe it myself. I look at the wedding photos now and what strikes me is just how much she's grown. She's literally head and shoulders above me now - and yes, she is a total stunner!

    Freddo - I know that always comes as a shock to people - but no, she's only half-French (same as my two little ones).

    Nicola - Jusdging by the sound of your little boys, I'm sure they'll be easy to love. Yes, it is possible. Here's hoping that your ex finds someone worthy (of their love) xxx

  30. Liz - No problem - and thanks for popping by too - I have added a link to your post about SPD in my latest post. I hope I didn't make you too teary :-)) x

    Motherhood and Anarchy - Thanks for popping by here too. I liked your post on sibling dynamics - defiitely reminded me of my two!

    Chic - Thank you lovely x

    SAHM-I-AM - Aaw that's wonderful to hear...sounds like I'm not the only one then. And yes, it's such a bonus for the younger ones to have an older sibling like that - she's a great role model for them.

    BiB - Yep, I'm chuffed to bits for my little ones to have someone so close to them who isn't a parent. I'm imagining them going to stay with her when they're older...hanging out with her and looking up to their older sister (lucky them)!

  31. Selina - you know I think that is the nicest comment of the lot. I shall go to bed tonight with a smile on my face - thank you (and I shall make my husband read it too)! xx

    WM - Thanks lovely. And yes, I think Alex was happy with it too!

    Expat - Yes, exactly - and she is such a good role model. Honestly, if they turn out to half as amazing as Alex, I will be chuffed to bits.

    Irish Mammy - Thank you. And yes, I hope she does too ;-) xx

    Laura - I think your stepdaughter is very lucky to have you. I read the article about your family the other day and I think you do a fantastic job. You're right, it's not easy, but I think if you both want it to work, then you're starting from a good place.

  32. Wendy - Thanks for popping by - and yes, what a lovely thing for you to say to your stepson - and how right - yes I've never thought of it like that before. It sounds like he's very lucky to have you - and as in our situation, a great role model for your little one.

    Muddy - Oh thank you darling. D'you know what? I saw that meme and I was hoping someone would tag me because it's such a cute one (and normally I don't exactly jump for joy at the tags) - so thanks so much. Will try to do it as my next post. I look forward to seeing what my little ones come up with (not holding my breath for a great work of art from the 2-year old mind)!!

    Lulu's - Don't be silly honey - anyway you have been recently - it's me who should apologise! But I'm thinking I might have your other blog on my roll rather than your new one - and I always read blogs from the roll rather than from my reader (if that makes sense). Must look into it and see if I need to add your new one instead. Thanks for the comment - I'm definitely lucky with Alex - she makes it easy for us all to get on.

    Hot Cross - Look at you - almost disappearing in my comments as I was typing! Glad I saw you. Thanks for the comment - yes, we had a great time, although the two little ones cried when Alex left. First thing five year old did was to write her a letter (Alex - he's a picture of a flying rabbit I did for you because you're my sister and I love you). Was written all by herself and was so cute I nearly cried!!

  33. Em that was gorgeous. Sorry I'm so far behind. Both she and you sound very lucky to have each other. Hugs.

  34. Jo - Bless you for coming by. Don't worry - my 'to read' list is never ending. It's hideous. I'm sure there's a milion unread posts that I need to read...but have had parents in law here for almost a week now and am so far behind I think I may have to cut my losses and start with the new ones. Anyway, yep, Alex is fab. Love her x