Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cooper's Perspective

This is Cooper, my 11-year-old stepson.  He's a pretty great kid. 
Whenever I tell anyone that I'm a step-mom, I inevitably get that I'm-so-sorry look, followed by the comment, "Ooo...that must be so tough."
And I understand those looks and comments.  Being a stepparent isn't something that you dream about as a teenager.  In college, when you're talking with your roommates about who you want to marry someday, nobody ever says, "I totally hope I marry a divorced guy with a kid!"
But you can't always control who you fall in love with...and I fell in love with a divorced dad. 
Cooper was just two-years-old when we met.  I think his age was advantageous to our relationship.  He's never harbored any resentment toward me, he's never blamed me for the demise of his parents' marriage, he's never yelled, "You're not my real mom!" in a moment of frustration.
Brian and I have shared custody with Cooper's mom since the very beginning.  She is active in his life and they have a terrific bond - I would never try to infringe on that.  My goal isn't to be a replacement parent.  Rather, I find ample satisfaction in being yet another caring adult in Cooper's life.  Someone he can turn to when he needs help or support.  Someone who can teach him new things.  Someone he can look up to as a positive role model. 
At least that's the role I try to fulfill.  Some days are easier than others.
But why all this chatter about Cooper?
Because today he melted my heart with something he said.
This afternoon, I mentioned the increased traffic on my blog.  See, I'm still a newbie in the blog world, and monitoring how many hits I get each day is how I validate my self-worth.  Haha - joking!  (Sort of.)
Anyhow, Cooper says:  Yeah, my teacher reads your blog now.
Me:  Really?  How did she find out about it?
Cooper:  Last week, we had to raise our hands and share something that made us proud about our parents.  I picked you, and said I was really proud of your Stopping Spree and how you're not buying anything this year.
Me:  (speechless)
Brian:  (speechless - and a little teary-eyed)

Can I get a collective "Awwwww...." here?  Is that not the sweetest thing ever?
Sometimes it's far too easy to minimize my role in Cooper's life.  Despite all the crafting, baking, gardening, and movie watching that we do together, in the back of my head I still think, "Yeah, but I'm just a stepmom." 

The truth is that Cooper is learning from me - he's watching what I do and listening to what I say.  He understands the impact of my Stopping Spree, and he's proud of me.

In the world of stepparenting, it often feels like you're missing the good stuff.  When he was little, I didn't get the sticky hugs or the "I lurve you, momma" moments.  These days, I don't get the Mother's Day card he makes at school or the birthday breakfast in bed.  At times, it's easy to feel sorry for myself to only be a stepparent.  But then Cooper says that he's proud of  me - and I can hardly breathe because I'm so filled with joy.

Maybe I'm only a stepmom, but in Cooper's eyes, I'm still enough.              


  1. You definitely get an "awwwwww!" from me! That is so sweet. He is lucky to have you!

  2. over from "joy's hope," and what a sweet post. so glad your step-mom heart was melted!

  3. My goodness, Kate! That's beautiful! How wonderfully sweet. :)