Aaron and I were putting together some new patio furniture when Holly looked right at me and said, “Wow! I can’t believe my parents made that.” It was a nice thing to say, to include me like that… but I think it just came more from a place of not knowing how to categorize me that actually considering me her parent, too. Sure I make dinners, and lunches, and fold her laundry, and brush her hair. I take her to dance class or swim class, and comfort her when she is sad. I read stories and help with homework, and tell her No she can not take her shoes off everywhere we go. There is definitely a difference who I am to her now versus who I was when Aaron was living on his own… When I could just pop over for a game or walk to the park… But who am I now? I’m kind of just floating here. Not just a girlfriend, not quite a parent.
It’s not just Holly either, who is much more sensitive and easy to read than her brother. While leaving for soccer practice, Jonathan looked over to Aaron and said seemingly disappointed, “Why isn’t Ashley coming to watch me too?” Ugh, punch to the stomach, Boy. Of course I want to support him and cheer for him, but do I need to be there for every practice? Every school pick up? Every assembly and chess tournament? Sometimes I think not, I sure know an ex-wife that would enjoy seeing my face less. But when I really listen and pay attention to the things they say and their expectations of me… it seems like I do.
I’ve never been one for labels, but I think we are all really feeling the ambiguousness of it right now.
All I can tell you is if Jonathan wants me at his soccer practice, I’m gonna do everything I can to be there. And if Holly wants to consider me part of her parenting team, I’ll keep on telling her to leave her damn shoes on. Without the “damn” part, I’m not an evil Step-Mother yet, sheesh.
Grayson William. Your smile is contagious, your joy, infectious. I am so lucky to know your soft skin, your sweet baby cackle, and to have your Mama as my sister. We just spent some really great days in Arizona together, and I promise to spend many, many more. I will spoil the crap out of you for your entire life, and in return, you will call me your favorite Auntie.