by Susana Rosende
Last night, I helped my 17-year-old son, Brian, pick out a birthday card and flowers for his stepmother's birthday. Carol has been with his dad since Brian was three years old. Brian and Carol have a pretty close relationship, although it wasn't always so.
In the beginning, Carol saw Brian as an extension of me, and as interfering in her relationship with his dad. And I, too, felt jealous of the woman who replaced me, not only as "the wife," but, also as the "weekend mom." But, soon I realized that it doesn't hurt for children to be loved and nutured by many people. And after Carol became a mom five years ago, she finally understood. Children need their daddies. And stepmothers can and should be more than just fathers' wives or disciplinarians. They can be good friends to their stepchildren. They can also be their second moms.
Today, Carol often takes Brian and his little sister, Diana, on summer vacations. She serves as another mentor and confidant. She taught Brian how to do his own laundry!
There were no cards for stepparents, so Brian chose a card that said, "Happy Birthday Mom...you'll always be my special friend." I helped him pick a bouquet of pink roses, ferns, and babies breath.
And I was happy to do so, because I realize that Carol is exactly that: Brian's second mom and special friend.