There are small steps in this process. Unintended pun, but hey, it works: small steps in becoming a step-parent, a step-couple.
This week was a hard one for me and MTL, as old baggage and old issues raised their ugly heads again. It takes time, and I'm not good at patience. I want a quick fix, a quick solution, and that just can't happen when we're dealing with ancient scars that have etched themselves across the deepest parts of our psyches.
So. Small steps. Sometimes even step-backs.
The children, however, occasionally take leaps. When DramaBoy was dropped off by his father this week, he was clutching two pudding cups and sporting a huge grin. I have pudding! he crowed. One is for me, and one is for my stepbrother! I have a treat for my stepbrother The Padawan!
MTL and I conjecture that perhaps The Ex told DramaBoy that it's okay to refer to The Padawan as his stepbrother, something that DB wants deeply. A couple of months ago DB pointedly asked when MTL and I are going to get married, as he wants The Padawan to be his brother. I told him at the time that they pretty much are, so it's fine to call The Padawan his stepbrother, but he didn't do so until this week. So...some switch was tripped in his head, and boy was he happy about it.
Last night MTL handed me some mail, saying it was mine. Two envelopes were addressed to me; the third was addressed to "The Parent of The Padawan". Oh, I said, am I the parent of The Padawan? You sure this is for me?
Yep, you are, he said.
So I opened it. And then handed the contents over to MTL, since it was something from The Padawan's school. Heh.
But the biggest leap? The one that had me warmed up inside? Last night The Padawan reminded us that we needed to contact his friend's mother about having his friend stay the night this weekend. He called, and once the mother was on the other end, told her (and I quote): My parents are ready to talk to you. Here!
And he handed me the phone.
It's hard to read The Padawan sometimes. I know he likes me. I know he's very fond of DramaBoy and The Widget. But last night, hearing him refer to me as one of his parents...
That was a very big step.