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.
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