Dear Stepfather

You are our fourth.  That’s right, you are our fourth stepfather.  Others may read that and wonder if you know. I don’t even know if you know, because you seem to have just shown up on the heels of Mom’s last and latest boyfriend a month or two ago, and now here you are, living with us.

We’ve been moved around a lot, my sister and I. Our birth father is absent, which is a good thing, believe that. Neither of us remembers much about stepdad two (or is it three, we’re not sure.) We lived with our grandparents for most of that marriage. The last one was awful. We were beaten (my sister got it even worse than I did) and his own children terrorized us. That one lasted a few years.  In between were the boyfriends – we’ve always been shuffled, always taken second place to  Mom’s man-of-the-moment.  We’ve spent a lot of time with relatives, until Mom finds another man and drags us off again.

So don’t be shocked when we’re either distant or too clingy. Don’t get mad when we don’t know how to act around you. We’re not sure if we should be super nice and hope it will make you stay, or horrible in hopes that you will leave – because let’s face it, you’ll probably leave anyway in a year or two, and Mom will think it’s our fault even when she doesn’t say so. Every new man goes from “the most wonderful man ever I am so in love” to “he’s awful and you have to stop liking him now”. Sometimes really fast. Sometimes much too slow. Stability isn’t something we understand or expect, but it sure would be nice.

We’ve changed schools so much we don’t have a lot of friends, and the new teachers plus new kids at school, plus yet another new dad, it’s  a ton of change for us. Hell, we just got to this town a few months ago and we’ve already lived in three places here – we tried counting how many houses we’ve lived in and stopped at 20 because it got depressing. Are you actually going to keep us in one place for a whole semester? A whole school year?  Maybe then we will start to trust you.

Stepdad, we don’t even know what to call you yet. You seem to love our mom and we are glad about that, because we love her too. She is happy and we like it when she is happy because when she isn’t things get … difficult.  But you’re an unknown quanitity to us. Are you going to lose your temper and hit us like the last one? Are you going to touch us and make us touch you like other people have done? Do you even have what it takes to love and care for us and our mom as we head into puberty and our teen years?  Because mister, we have scars.  Big scars. Deep scars. And we do not think Mom has explained that to you, or you would have taken us all to counseling before running off and getting married.

And we are kids, so we can’t process all this. All we know is “here we go again”. And you are a big guy – a lot bigger than us. You have your own issues, and we can see that sometimes in the look in your eye. Please keep us safe. Please don’t hurt us. If you can just do that, for even a year, then we might learn that you can be trusted. Our behavior will get better, our fears will subside. We pray to Heavenly Father that someday, Mom’s man will really love us, and be our dad.  We’re doing our best, and we hope you will too.

Your new stepchildren

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on November 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “Dear Stepfather”

  1. Dear Step Child-
    I have no idea how old you are but you are exrtemly intelligent and self aware. You can make a better life for yourself and I hope you’ll stay strong. I can tell you are a beautiful person inside and I’m sorry your mother doesn’t treat you as such. remember: you can make any life you desire. Please put yourself first. Huge hugs to you and your siblings!

  2. I suspect that was written not by the child herself, but rather on her behalf. Possibly by a stepmom. I could be wrong but that’s how it rang to me. In any case I wish the best for the stepkids, and I hope that this stepdad is a wonderful one. They certainly deserve it.

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