By Miriam Genao
What do you look for in a stepparent for your child? I found myself pondering that very question when my son was 4 years old. I had broken up with José’s father two and a half years prior. The dating scene was calling my name, but I knew that I had to be very picky of who I brought into mine and my son’s life.
The year was 2006 when I started dating a man named Juán. He was Latino like me and was in the Navy. Juán had a very outgoing personality that everyone loved. My mother liked him almost immediately. The rest of my family accepted him as if they had known him for years. He always cooked at all of the family gatherings, which got him liked even more. José seemed to like him but I didn’t see any chemistry between the two. We only dated for 3 months. Juan was a shoo-in with everyone, but he wasn’t “the one” for me and my son.
Breaking up with him was rough. He didn’t want to accept that it wasn’t going to work between us. My extended family didn’t take it very well either. They kept on trying to convince me to give him another try and still invited him to family functions. My mother was the toughest one to convince that the relationship was over. You know how mothers can be. They think if you stick it out, things will get better or that you’re making a huge mistake letting a good guy go. Yes, Juán was a good guy but he wasn’t good enough for me.
Not long after I broke up with Juán, I met someone through mutual friends named Anthony. He had the most gorgeous green eyes I had ever seen. We decided that our 1st date would be really relaxed and fun. We rode on his motorcycle and then went swimming. After that, we went to grab a bite to eat. I had a lot of fun on our 1st date. I didn’t feel the pressure of having to work hard to impress him and I’m sure he felt the same. We were able to be ourselves during the date. I had a good feeling about Anthony.
It was December when I finally let my mother meet Anthony. I was a nervous wreck because my mother is very upfront about how she feels and will not hesitate to let you know. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Not knowing how the meeting would go is what had my nerves on edge.
It was on a weekend that I had him come over. Some of my cousins were over at my house playing dominoes and listening to music. As soon as Anthony walked through the door, I could feel the tension or maybe it was the dread I was feeling.He was relaxed and didn’t look nervous at all! We walked over to the domino table and I introduced them to each other. All my mother did was look him up and down and returned her attention to her domino game. I was so embarrassed and apologized profusely to Anthony. He took my mother’s reaction in stride and said,” It’s okay, she’ll love me once she gets to know me”. Later on, little did I know, those words would ring true.
That Christmas, I was going through a rough time getting José’s father to help me more financially with my son. Anthony surprised me with a gift for José. José, being 5 years old, was obsessed with Spider-man so Anthony bought him a Spider-man web shooter. Watching Anthony show José how to use the toy made my heart smile. I was hoping that this would be the start to a positive male role model for my son and a future with someone who treated us both like he wanted us around for the long run.
Fast forward 10 years. Anthony’s and José’s relationship has blossomed into one that I have always wanted for José. They always talk sports and joke around. Anthony is the one who got José interested in wrestling and has him on the right path. I’m so grateful to my husband Anthony (yes, we are now married) for loving my son as if José were his. I know that many step-parents never develop that type of love for a stepchild, but we are lucky to have gotten that and more.
Miriam Genao is a mother of 3 beautiful children and a blogger on Miriam Knows…