Thanks to Disney, it is well known that stepmoms spend a good chunk of their time formulating plots to ruin their stepdaughter’s lives. I am no exception.
One night this past winter, I could not sleep (which is to say, it was like every other night). As I lie there, trying to sleep, I began thinking about how it would be fun to tag along with my husband to pick up E (6) from school the following day. I watched the time tick by as sleep continued to evade me, and I hatched out a plan more appropriate of an evil stepmom. I would hide in the back of our car and pop up after she was all buckled in.
When I shared my idea with my husband the next day, he laughed and said he was on board. When we arrived at her school, Jake set up his phone on the dashboard to record, then walked to the door to pick her up. While he did that, I hauled myself to the back of the vehicle, which was a bit of a workout, and spread a blanket out on top of myself.
I heard them walking up to the car. They get in, and E, ever the observant little girl, immediately says, “Hey! Why is your camera on Daddy?” Jake replied, “I wanted to record myself picking you up from school.” Here are some still shots of what followed…
I did not want to scare her too horribly, so I went for a silent tap on the shoulder. I figured this would make her jump, but not scare her to tears. As it turns out, I didn’t scare her at all. 😀 She grabbed my hand as she turned, and through her laughter, squealed “JACKIE!!?!?!” (Maybe the hand she grabbed being a similar temperature to ice gave me away.) I don’t know what it says about our family that she seemed to find the entire event pretty unsurprising. Her only question was if I always hide the back of the car under blankets, and she just never knew about it. I told her yes.
Now, you might be feeling sorry for my stepdaughter, but I can assure you, she gives as good as she gets. Take the day she sweetly asked, “Jackie, can we take a picture together?” I of course said yes, and eagerly got out my phone. “I’ll count,” she tells me as she smiles sweetly at the camera. “One…. two… three!”
Yeah – this kid can hold her own!
When we aren’t picking on each other, we find other ways to have fun during our time together. As it turns out, a silver lining to having a stepmom who has to rest a lot is she is a captive audience. I am joking – there is nothing captive about it; I love our one on one time. I figure there is a lot I cannot give her due to my health, however I can almost always put down whatever I am reading and give her my full attention. We come up with all sorts of games, learn about whatever we are curious about at the moment (most recently, it is maps and turtles), and have conversations we probably wouldn’t if my attention were divided.
Disclaimer: I don’t always sit around in dresses with nicely groomed hair. That’s just when the pictures tend to be taken.
Now remember, I am no saint. I am an evil stepmom. Even if I have the time, I don’t always want to give E my undivided attention. Sometimes I just want quiet and to not be jostled, which she is a sweetheart about. Other times, I feel too sick to move or talk much, but let her know I would love to hang out in the same room together if she doesn’t mind keeping her noise level down.
Here is a picture from a day where upon hearing this, she reassured me, “No problem. I have a game where you don’t need to move or talk.”
She likes to push my wheelchair, and is even getting tall enough where she can somewhat see where she is going, making her help an all around less terrifying experience. (Looking at this photo, I feel terrible I am holding the umbrella over myself while she pushes me in the rain. Let it be known: she did not want me to hold the umbrella over her.)
She likes to practice doing hair, nails, and makeup on me. The focus she puts into these tasks as she gets older makes me smile.
I have the title of “best fort builder ever” and I figure I have to build a fort every now and then if I want to keep my title (I estimate 4 forts a year is what it takes). One day my symptom load was high, and Jake came in to the room to find me building E a fort next to our bed. He incredulously asked, “What are you doing!?!” I defensively replied, “I have to keep my title!” He laughed and left the room, because that is just like me — I might not be able to do anything else the rest of the night, including eat, but I can make peace with it as long as I don’t lose my title of best fort builder.
This Spring, we finally had a girl’s night slumber party at my Mom and Dad’s. This was a big event because it meant we could sleep in the bunk beds together, something she has waited years for. After all that build up, we ended up both sleeping in the bottom bunk. If I am making disclaimers for myself, I will make them for her too. She would want you to know the reason we both slept on the bottom was not because she was afraid whoever slept on the top would roll out of the bed; it was for body heat. 😉
Top Photo: “No. Your lunch cannot be cake. I wish it could be too, but it can’t.”
Bottom Photo: “You don’t have to say thank you, but I will tell people to take their presents home with them if you don’t say thank you after opening each one.” “No. I’m not kidding.” Note: She has excellent manners and always says her thank yous. However, she was asking me how much she needed to talk during present time, because she was feeling some stage fright.
Despite my excellent evil stepmother glare (and her giving it right back to me) being well documented in her birthday photos each year, I can’t help but feel I am not living up to the title. Recently, while we were filling out her Q & A a day journal, she told me,
“You’re nice to me because you’re my stepmom… but that’s special, because most stepmoms are EVIL.“