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GraduationGraduation Day arrived yesterday. I teared up a little as I watched my stepson walk the line after having his name called, but I quickly choked those emotions back. It’s just what I do, and what I’ve learned to do after years and years of heartbreak and frustration with this whole dysfunctional family dynamic we’ve had. You can see it in the pictures – my husband and his son with their arms around each other, smiling in the photo. It’s natural for them. Father and son. No strangeness or awkwardness to it. The photos of the stepson and I show a different story – his hands to himself, and I nudged up right next to him so, at least for appearances sake, it looked like we were happy to have our picture taken together. I don’t give him a hug, or tell him how proud of him I am – even though I want to – because it feels like I’m crossing some invisible line. I’m just there. That other woman. Dad’s wife. That’s all I think I’ll ever be, even after all these years. The life of a stepparent, I suppose.

Bitter and sweet seems to be how my life generally tends to play out, and I guess yesterday wasn’t much of an exception.


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