I am not only a mom to five pretty great kids, I am also a stepmom to another pretty great kid. Max came into my life as part of the Richard package. I met them both at a New Year’s Eve party back in 2009. Max was not even one year old. It’s funny, the friend hosting the party told me that she was anxious for me to meet Max and Richard. I thought she was friends with a gay couple and I was like, “okay”. No, it was the man and his son that would enter our lives and make our family even bigger and happier.
Max visits us whenever he is on break. He lives in Indiana with his mom, step-dad, and their son, and he has another step brother in Indiana as well. That kid went from an only child to one of eight in a matter of years. And now his grandparents have countless grandkids!
Max has been on airplanes many times; he has been flying since he was an infant. Now that Max is eight, he can take flights by himself, so we pick him up at the airport. It’s become easier and he always makes friends with the other kids on the flights. Sometimes he is the old pro, even when there is a twelve-year-old on the flight.
He got here at the beginning of June this summer and what a full summer we had! He had swimming lessons twice a week. We got to swim with some friends. He entered the library’s reading program and won all of the prizes easily. He made new friends at Vacation Bible School and they got to come over to our house and play. He and his dad went for many bike rides. And well…it was busy!
He went back to his mom last night. He was choked up on the ride to Houston but I know he was fine as soon as he was back with her and their family. I woke up this morning and as I passed his room, I looked in, the way I do every morning when he is here and he was gone again. I went about my morning routine with a sigh, reminding myself to straighten his room later on.
This afternoon, I washed his clothes and was preparing to go straighten his room and Richard was in there putting things away. That made me sad but I think he needed to do that. He needed to hold onto Max’s things a little bit longer and remember the good times they had this summer. He needed to put things away and think about what we need to get for Max when he comes back in October and maybe begin to plan for that vacation. We always celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving when he comes home so the whole family is together, which we cannot do in November.
I love Max like my own. He is one of my kids and always will be. Sometimes he drives me a little crazy with his love of weird videos of people playing video games and I don’t know the names of the new Pokémon but I’m learning. I never planned on being a stepmom, I never thought I’d be helping raise another child, even if it is part-time, in my late 40’s but here I am. It’s exhausting at times but I cannot imagine our lives without the little scamp and cannot wait to see him again.