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To My Children’s Future Stepmom, Whoever You May Be

man proposing to woman
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I see you.

I see that you are worried because we have the good relationship — a great relationship, a mature relationship — two separated parents should have. Maybe that makes you feel as though he isn’t ready to move on. I assure you, he has moved on.

There was nothing sudden about our split, but if you see him look at me with a particular look in his eyes, don’t leave. Don’t leave him like I did.

The look he has for me will always be there because I am the mother of his children — the two people he loves most in this world — not because he’s in love with me. I know this because I have the same look for him. I know this because I was there for our relationship — for its failure, its passing, and its death.

But I don’t have the look you have. I can’t give him the respect, gratitude, admiration, and fresh start that you can.

I see you flinch just a bit when my kids mention their mom around you. Don’t worry, I flinch when they say your name, too. But the uncomfortable feeling only lasts a second. It’s only normal and will probably always be there … just like I’ll always be there.

We don’t have to be friends. We don’t have to make conversation every time we see each other, unless you want to. We don’t have to ask each other where we got our purse or say, “I love your shoes!” unless, of course, you want to. We don’t have to engage in forced conversation at my son’s soccer game … unless you want to.

Even though I don’t know you yet, I know you will be reasonable because he picked you.
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But just know that if you want to, I want to.

I will do anything if it means the father of my children is happy. If you’re what makes him the kind of happy I tried to make him and was never able to, I’ll do whatever it takes within reason.

Even though I don’t know you yet, I know you will be reasonable because he picked you. He would not choose someone who would not choose our kids. He loves them so much, I’m confident he wouldn’t let anyone into their lives who was not kind, gracious, and warmhearted.

I hope you recognize those qualities in him. I didn’t, but I do now. I hope you see the best parts of him every day because his heart is bleeding with generosity. The kind of happiness you offer him is the kind I want my kids to see on his face when you walk through the door and kiss him or hold his hand just because. He deserves that kind of love and our kids deserve to see what a healthy and loving relationship looks like. Thank you in advance for giving them that.

I want you to know that how involved you are with our children is entirely up to you. They already have a mother, so if you don’t want to be their second mother or even their stepmom, you don’t have to. I just ask that you be a good role model.

But if you want to talk to my 7-year-old about the boy at school who wouldn’t let him play, I’m fine with that. If you want my 3-year-old to hug you when he sees you, I’m fine with that, too. I’m confident after getting to know them, you’ll be all of these things and more because they are awesome … and I just know you will be, too.

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