Do any of you have step-parents?
I'm sure someone out there does, right?
There's all these things I wanted to write about this week, about some good and tough conversations S and I have been having to plan for next steps, about health stuff etc.
But right now all I can really think about is this on-going sadness I have about my deteriorating relationship with my step-mom.
My step-mother is actually a very lovely person. If I met her at a party I'd really want to talk to her, she's interesting and smart and really pretty fun. But we've never had the easiest of relationships.
I'm really close to my dad and I think she feels a little resentful of it. Plus while her kids have had some deep struggles in their lives, my sister and I have for the most part been pretty lucky.
I say for the most part, because truly we've both had some knocks that are nothing to sniff at. But still, in my step-mom's eyes we've both got it made and her kids are the ones that need looking after.
I don't argue with that, I know that my step-siblings have had a harder road than I have. But at the same time, it doesn't mean that I haven't had problems too, and that I don't need her to want to look out for me also. I tried to talk to her about the infertility stuff last year before we started treatments when I was finding everything about choosing the donor and wrapping my mind around the decision really hard, but even that was met with 'well I'm sure you'll be fine.'
This has all come to a head over the pregnancy.
When I say she has been 'uninvolved' it's sort of an understatement. She's responded to emails that I've sent and been very pleasant (and is apparently knitting blankets for the twins) but in 7 months she hasn't once called me. She hasn't come to visit or expressed any interest in visiting.
Currently I'm in this weird negotiation with my dad over when he'll try to come in the summer to meet the babies. Essentially he's had to bribe my step-mom with a trip to Italy to get her to come to London.
The plan is that they're going to come here for 4-5 days to visit, and then go to italy to go hiking for 9-10 days, then my dad will come back and my step-mom will go back to california to be near my step-sister in case she needs her (my step-sis is newly pregnant after trying for... 5 minutes? which is another element to the story).
Essentially, in the first 7 months of my kids' lives their step-grandma will visit them for 4 days.
And after that more visits will only be because we've agreed that we'll fly 12 hours with 6 month old twins to bring the kids to California for Christmas (already dreading... but has to be done).
Logically I get some of the reasons for this - they both work intense jobs with a lot of pressure and commitments that are hard to break. They are spry mid-60-somethings and want to go hiking and adventuring as long as they're able to. London isn't a hop skip and jump from California, financially or time-wise.
But I know from looking at their lives that they make time for the things they want to do (and I respect them for it). My step-mom spent 10 days at JazzFest last year, they routinely spend 2 weeks hiking in Utah, they rent an apartment in Paris periodically. My step-mom flies cross country a few times a year to see her family. They prioritise the things they want to enjoy and that are important to them.
The fact that my step-mom seems to have no interest in squeezing me into all that is gutting.
Yes, I'm fortunate that I have other lovely parental figures and grandparental figures in my future-kids lives. My mom is making huge sacrifices to be here to help us. My mother-in-law wants to be as hands-on as possible. So do I need my step-mom? Maybe not.
But do I desperately want her to feel like a grandparent to my kids, a parent to me? Absolutely.
It makes me deeply sad to observe time and time again that I'm absolutely nowhere on her list of priorities. And yet, my dad is so involved with my step-siblings and is truly a dad to them and will be a grandfather to their kids.
I'm proud of him for this, this is as it should be, but it just makes the contrast that much more upsetting.
I've tried talking to my dad about it but it doesn't really go anywhere. My sister and S are convinced this is a losing battle, and that I need to try not to let it bother me.
I wish I could, but right now it's just making me super sad.
I'm not great at letting things lie and I know that this could do lasting damage to my relationship with her, and to my dad's relationship with his grandkids. He needs her support in being involved, and it's not forthcoming at all (quite the opposite).
Am I being ridiculous and should just concentrate on the people who want to be here, rather than those that don't?
Should I try to talk to her, even if it might not help, for my own piece of mind?
Does anyone have any advice?