From the start, my future stepmother told me, "I hate kids, I'm never having kids."
I was a sensitive child. To me it was the same as saying, "I hate you, Lisa. I hate you."
Though, at the time, she and my father seemed old. I realize now how young they were. I was just six when they met, and I was a junior in hight school when my father finally either straightened up or gave in and made her his wife.
I don't know how far it was into their marriage, but my stepmother suddenly wanted to have a baby. They tried, but couldn't conceive. They spent thousands of dollars. Nothing. She told my father that it was his fault she couldn't get pregnant, that I wasn't really his child - which was ridiculous. I look just like him.
My father's family was quick to find the wisdom of God in my stepmother's inability to get pregnant: God had put a child in her life. She rejected God's gift. When she did, she ensured that no amount of money would ever solve her problem.
At some point, I grew up. I grew tired of trying to convince everyone that I was worthy of their love.
This Christmas, my stepmother's mother died. Though the woman was eighty four years old and in poor health, my stepmother wasn't ready for her death.
I called to offer my condolences. She told me softly, "As you get older, you start to wonder: who is going to take care of me when I get like this? It's so hard."
"Of course it's hard, " I said. "We only have one mother in life."
"Not you," she replied. "You have two mothers."
It's funny how now that she realizes I'm all she might have someday, she wants to be a mother to me. I'm thirty years old. I don't need her love anymore. Now she needs mine.
Republished with slight edits from The Sun July 2004, Issue 343