The first time I met The Boy, I was sitting in C*'s lounge. The Boy and his mother arrived to drop him off for the weekend. He had seen me on the webcam and talked to me on the phone before, but that was through the safety of the 5,000 miles that separated us. Now I was in his father's living room, and he stood bashfully in the hallway just out of view.
"Go on in. Don't be shy," his father prodded.
Then, he was there, standing in front of me. The Boy who factored heavily into whether or not the relationship between C* and I could continue. We had already discussed it. If The Boy didn't like or accept me, C* and I would be through.
"Hi," he said.
The Boy this past weekend in England with a bowl of ice cream and jelly at Granny Jill's house:
He's cute as a button, and he seems to be a genuinely nice and normal boy. I'm in a precarious position, though, as I continue to be my own worst enemy by automatically forecasting the situation through his eyes in the most negative way possible. Some examples of thoughts that I fear have run or are or will be running through his head at any possible moment:
"That's the bitch who's taking my daddy away from me."
"I want my daddy all to myself again."
"I wish she'd go away."
"I'll make it so that she goes away."
I'm not speaking entirely without experience. My dad had four wives by the time I was 7 years old. The last one stuck, but I couldn't stand her, and I couldn't stand the way the relationship between my father and I changed after she got her meaty hooks into him. I'm not saying that I would ever want the relationship between C* and The Boy to change on account of me, but you never know what The Boy is thinking.
That being said, I never wanted a son. I mean, what do I know about helping to raise a boy? A daughter would have been much more my speed.
Boys pick their boogers and eat them. They play too rough. They are always dirty and stinky. Their hands are always greasy, and they smear that grease on everything. And they talk with their mouths full. Oops. I do that, too.
As far as boys go, though, The Boy seems to be a good one. He can be sweet. He loves to read and draw. We like the same movies. He loves the Simpsons. He travels relatively well. He is mightily inquisitive. He likes to play tennis. And board games. That boy loves his board games.
So, if I were to become a part-time stepmum to The Boy, I think I could handle it. It would definitely always be a balancing act, keeping in mind that I will never be his mother. Where are the boundaries? What is acceptable behavior on both our parts? When will it be appropriate to lay down some rules of my own, especially if C* and I get our own apartment and the space stops being strictly "daddy's space"?
Already, my presence has caused at least one change. This being a one-bedroom apartment, The Boy had gotten used to sleeping in bed with daddy. When I came on the scene, The Boy was told to hit the couch. I told C* that I'd be willing to sleep on the couch on the weekends to avoid any kind of hard feelings. But C* is firm about The Boy sleeping on the couch. Now the wee one wants to know if I moved here would he have to sleep on the couch every weekend? No, we'd move into a bigger place so The Boy would have his own room. But he's a daddy's boy, and I think he liked his place snuggled next to daddy at night.
Things change. But how much change can go on before The Boy starts feeling resentment at what caused the change? Am I overthinking things?
In other news: C*, The Boy and I did the drive to Malvern in the Shire of Worcester (pronounced Wooster) for a visit with Mum, brothers and their family. Already, I'm a huge fan of Mum
and, even after just a long weekend, I like C*'s family and seem to get along with them far better than my own.