Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The (not at all) Wicked Stepmother

It's been one year and 4 months since our wedding, the same day my Mother-in-Law had a fatal stroke. And not quite two weeks ago, my Father-in-Law got remarried.

The wedding ceremony and reception were tastefully executed, paying the proper respect to the loving relationship that Joe and Terry had shared for 43 years, but not making it another memorial service. However, it was still uncomfortable for many in attendance. Especially my dear husband, who was asked to stand beside his Father in support of this new union, when he really just wanted to punch a wall several times that weekend. I imagine that the event brought a reality and a finality to his Mother's death, more so than even the ceremony we held at Christmas to place her ashes in a niche. And I know he misses her greatly everyday, but this particular day those feelings were brought to the forefront of his consciousness. His sister had a difficult time as well. As did several of Joe and Terry's friends, who just couldn't pull it together and truthfully shouldn't have come if they couldn't be strong and supportive for the family. And of course, it was a much happier occasion for her guests, which was awkward for those of us who didn't know how to feel about it.

Her name is Susan. They met on eHarmony just 2 months after Terry died. She is lovely, kind and generous, and always tries to be sensitive to the situation with Dave's family. And she brings laughter and joy to Joe's life, for which I am thankful.

But she isn't Terry. She isn't the Mother-in-Law I signed up for. She isn't the woman I had only started to know and love when she was taken from us. And now that Dave and I are starting our own family, I find myself torn about this new, and somewhat unfamiliar, relationship. Neither I nor Dave begrudge his Dad a new partner with whom to enjoy his retirement and travel and be happy. But I know that Dave is not comfortable having a stepmother, especially this quickly. And I cannot imagine having my children call her Grandma, because their Grandmother is gone.

So many of my friends have told me that I will have no control over what my kids will call their grandparents, because you can't predict what they will say when they first use words to address them. So I guess I'm hoping that the first one will come up with some clever, cute phrase that will stick, that doesn't include any form of the word "grandmother". Or that I can guide it somehow. Maybe Papa Joe and SueSue?


Cassidy said...

I absolutely love and adore you...and am so proud to be your friend/cousin...thats all I have....I love you...a

karla said...

I'm with you--"grandmother" seems a little too intimate, so something more casual like SueSue is cute. Or even "Gigi," if you want to go so far--that's what our kids call their grandmother.