Stepmother’s the word alone is a mystery. Acquiring a stepmother is a unique story to every soul who has one or is one. I’m gonna share a little of my journey with you on how I acquired my stepmother and how my stepmother acquired her first (step) daughter…
My dad and my mother divorced when I was 7 years old.
So my memories of them together are very few faint memories. I remember my mom always being sad and my dad always being at work to provide for us. From the time I was seven years old to twelve years old I spent my time living out of a suitcase. I would spend one week with my mom and then one week with my dad alternating throughout the year was extremely difficult; it seemed as if the moment I was getting settled in; it was time to pack and leave again. I do also have to say the living arrangements at each home was completely different.
My mom was strong, tough and left the marriage for herself so she could find her happiness and for a better life for me. She wanted to show me by her example how to be independent, courageous, tough, passionate, and strong-willed. My mother was all about responsibilities, hard-work, extremely goal driven, and had plans of how I should do things.
My dad took care of me in a different way. My dad cooked and cleaned for me; spent his time providing everything he felt I needed/wanted, and trying to raise a girl in the best way he knew how. I was miserable living out of the suitcase, so the final year, we tried every 2 weeks; but It was still hard because there was hardly consistency; especially with both parents being so busy.
When I was thirteen years old, I started to live with my dad full-time. I felt safe with my dad, he always made me laugh, he was always happy; and my mother seemed career driven as women “have to be” in order to make anything of themselves in the work field. My dad worked extremely hard running his own business so he was goal oriented in his own ways; but my mom felt it was necessary to pave a road for me to follow so she could be sure I would not make her mistakes. My dad is extremely open-minded and in contrast of my mom, he allowed me to make my own mistakes and just accepted the road I chose to go venture down to find my way for me! I was excited when he came home after work, on the weekends and was off work I would finally be able to get my undivided attention from him that I so craved. My dad was/is definitely my hero; even though he was so busy he always made it known I was his “babes” and his number one.
During that time; my dad started to date women; he longed for that companionship he had gone without for so long. I on the other hand just wanted to be with my dad once for all; but at that same time I found my first boyfriend so it seemed “alright” for him to visit with his girlfriends because that is usually when he would allow me to visit with my first love. He was a lot like my dad charming, caring, protective…things seemed to go well for a while.
It was funny because my dad would never introduce his “dates” to me; but I ran into a few when I was supposed to be spending the night at my best friends house, but would stop home unexpectedly for something I needed. There “she” was some “floozy”, barely clothed, womanly body, pretty face that was always a little embarrassed and why oh why were the women always adjusting her clothes as I would walk in. I would quickly give her a dirty disapproving look as to let her know she was not welcome in my house. My family had a nightclub so my father would spend his time at the club and there are those bar flies that I felt needed to be swapped. During that time I was interested in singing, i loved to sing to anyone since I was little. As a toddler, I had a portable record player that was my most favorite possession, I would put my little vinyls in and perform for whoever would be interested. I was always told that had “soul” my blood and as I grew I began to love to sing Whitney Houston style type songs; but I had more of a Madonna style and definite Madonna dance moves. 🙂 My dad got me connected with a voice coach he said I could begin to practice with I didn’t enjoy it the first few lessons and it was so far.
One day I noticed my dad was acting different as he prepared dinner. My dad would cook for me; and I would sit at the kitchen table and just talk to him. My dad had this weird facial expression; he looked happy and goofy as usual but there was an extra spring in his step. My dad said, ” I met someone, a girl… she is really nice; she is beautiful, and she sings she can coach you and you don’t have to see that man anymore-I was not enjoying. This was the first time my dad had ever talked about a woman so I was interested… “Do you want to see a picture of her,” he asked, “OF course,” I explained. I was excited for him because I hadn’t seen him like this before. I saw her picture, it was a portfolio for her singing. I asked what she sang and my dad said Tejano, and I was like, “I am not singing TEJANO dad; I don’t even know SPANISH!” we both laughed.
I was extremely skeptic; my dad was always being flirted with and right in my face, women had no reverence; every where we went the mall, the stores, my teachers and after his relationship with my mother and short “nightmare” of a relationship he had with another after my mother; I didn’t trust women at all. I use to make barf-like expressions at the ladies that would ask my dad if they could touch his arms,
my dad laughed at my jealousy and teased me.
My dad told me the “girl” he met was named Cathy Chavez, and she would soon sing at our night club along with Emilio, Selena, Mazz, and all the other Tejano stars I grew up with singing in the club. He told me I could meet her this weekend; that is when I knew it was serious.
I went out with my boyfriend on Friday; and he gave me my first Hickey. I was so embarrassed; I felt like one of those floozy’s who would be at my house, under my roof trying to steal my dad. I tried so hard to hide it from my dad; and it was almost there; it was fading. A few days later I met Cathy; things seemed ok, I had my guard up she seemed like just another excited woman who had love eyes for my dad like the rest of the ladies. The night we spent together; and I spent my time watching her, but of course pretending I wasn’t. I wanted to see how she would talk to my dad, react and answer; even how she treated other people. After a day spent together downtown, he dropped her off at her house, they talked on the phone and then he hung up and my dad called me with that Oh familiar angry voice. He demanded to see my neck; he said what is on your neck!!!!! I was mortified; my dad told me “14 years old and a Hickey on your neck you are too young for that you should be ashamed”; i don’t remember what else he was saying; because that is when I tuned him out and couldn’t stop thinking about that bitch who told him. I told him it was none of her business and he told me she was concerned; later I told my aunt if she was so concerned she should have come to me and talk about it. So many things went through my head; what was her motive… make my dad despise me. I never wanted to see her again; but guess what, my dad did!
During this time I was hospitalized shortly for depression, my dad thought it would be best for me if he attempted to get back with my mother. Why, I have no idea they were never made for each other; but they were scared, clueless, and blamed the divorce for my depression.
Shortly after my return, Cathy was around again. One night I over heard them arguing and she was upset because my dad broke her heart when he made that attempt to get back with my mother; and when everyone realized that was the wrong way; everyone was left with trust issues. Cathy was hurt, angry, and when she spoke about my mother it hurt because she only knew her from my dad’s point of view; and no matter how true it was, she was my mom and I was the only one who could talk about her. I opened my door stomped outside my room, let her know I heard every word, and continued to go outside in my backyard hurt as I cried and fuming even more with anger. Cathy followed me, she apologized and I could see the truth in her face; but I didn’t want any of it.
I spent my days telling all my teachers, all my friends, anyone who would listen how my dad was dating this woman who was completely awful. My dad would go to pick her up from her parents house; and I would scoot over to sit by the window; and there she was looking all infatuated with my dad and I felt like shoving my finger down my throat. One day I refused to move, (my dad always had trucks) I didn’t want her near my dad I wanted to be near him. She asked if she could sit near my dad, I said No, and she wouldn’t get in the truck and she turned around and walked right back in her house. I thought, good she is gone; but I looked at my dad and it looked like his heart was ripped out of his chest and he went to go follow her. My dad and her didn’t come out of the house forever it seemed and I ended up moving to the window because I couldn’t get my dad’s sad face out of my head. I made it clear I didn’t like her and my dad told me just to try to give it time; because she was a good person; he promised me he wouldn’t marry her until they dated a long while; he was sure, and I was an adult. Every time I saw her I just acted like she wasn’t there, I didn’t want to acknowledge her; then one day my dad asked me to please say HI to her when I saw her because she would get her feelings hurt and tell him. I was angry, what was she doing sitting there complaining to my dad I wouldn’t tell her “Hello”; she didn’t tell me HELLO EITHER, I told him, “If I want to see her I will; if I don’t I won’t and I’m not going to fake anything”… my poor dad he was being pulled in 2 different directions by two girls who completely loved him; and who he completely loved. My dad wanted so bad for us to get along in retrospect I think he actually made it worse. Every time I saw him he would talk about how Cathy loved me; and how she was so nice. I wanted for him to acknowledge my feelings but he was to busy trying to change my mind.
I decided to concentrate on other things like my boyfriend, friends, having a hell of blast in high school and that is just what I did. The time came when I was graduating, I would be 18 years old in June and the wedding plans were in full effect. I would graduate in May, June I would turn 18, and they would marry in August. I was so angry and upset; how could my dad marry this woman who I felt had spent the last 4 years battling with me. It had been 4 years if we didn’t like each other by now we never would!!!
I ran away and started to hang out with different street gangs at this time. I needed to replace my family; I begin spending all my time with people who were angry, fighting, and sad just like me. I left my boyfriend I had been with all through high school and through the whole “Cathy” ordeal ~ my #1 supporter.
I vowed I would live another life; a life where I was appreciated. I started dating Victor during this time; he became my new boyfriend, but then he committed suicide in July.
I left home, and started living with other people who were doing drugs, drinking, gambling, and partying 24/7. The gang rivalry was strong, we wore black bandannas to identify who we represented and who would help us and who was our enemy. We associated with West Side Kings, T.O.B. at the time (The Olmos Boys) LA eMe, and we hated the Powerheads. We all shared the same bullet riddled vehicle and home; you could never get far in the hood without the cops giving you the third degree; to see who was driving; what tat’s we had so we couldn’t fake our identity; and make sure we didn’t have anyone in the car with new warrants. The house was forever being shot at, so then we had to go make things right. My poor mother-in-law antique furniture had bullet holes all over it. I don’t know how many drive by’s, gang fights, convenient store hold ups I was a party in; but one night the week of my dad’s wedding in August was an eye opener.
We were at the lake and one of our friends got busted breaking into cars; guess what we were all in my car at that time. We all got arrested for burglary of a motor vehicle; and possession of illegal weapons as there were a few guns in the vehicle; and someone… stuck one in my purse.
After my dad bailed me out of jail he was so angry; he yelled at me all the way home. Then we got to my grandma’s house and he looked at me straight in the eyes and asked me why! I told him I hated the fact he was getting married; and he told me… “Michele, that is why you left and are doing all this because I am getting married!!!!!???” It was so much more than that but how could I ever make him understand? As I thought to myself he broke down and told me, his voice softened and he began… “Michele you know I have been single a long time; the women out there in the bars… they aren’t good women, values, morals, I just want to be happy with someone. Do you want me to spend the rest of my life alone? How about sex, do you want me to catch some disease out there with women I don’t know? I told you I would wait until you were an adult to get married. Cathy is a good person; she isn’t like the rest; I promise. The wedding is tomorrow but if you can’t give me your blessing; I won’t go through with it; you are my daughter.” My dad looked so broken; so hurt and so afraid that I wouldn’t give him what he wanted more than anything… my blessing. We both cried; and held each other for a long while and then I told him I wanted him to be happy and he had my blessing. I am not going to lie; I cried the whole wedding and it was an emotional day when I saw my dad at the altar finally getting married after all these years.
Mark 1:14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God is near, Repent and believe the good news. New testament conversion means a CHANGE OF HEART!
In order to change your heart; you have to completely decide to have a complete RE-Orientation. Changing your heart is one of the hardest things to do especially when you have made up your mind to believe a certain way for almost a decade! You make the choice to look at a familiar situation with completely new eyes taking into consideration all your true values like love, forgiveness, and loyalty. Practicing believing and seeing the good in your daily life practice.
The day I fell in love with Cathy was about 4 years after they got married; when my little brother was born.
I had been praying for years for Cathy to go away; the day I walked in the hospital; there she was in the hospital bed with my little brother. I hadn’t looked at Cathy; I looked at my dad, I looked at my little brother.
I remember tears filled my face as I held him, so close, I felt full of so much love for this little newborn. As I stared into his face, I saw myself, I saw my dad; my first baby brother; so small, so innocent. I looked at Cathy and saw a different woman with a new set of eyes; she didn’t look like the woman who was my enemy; she looked softened, a peace in her eyes I hadn’t seen before. I looked at my brother, looked at her, looked back at my baby brother Daniel and thought to myself (full of so much love for this little guy I hardly knew) wow what a strong extension of me I could feel; how could I not love his mother, I wondered. It would be up to God, myself, and Cathy how our relationship would start from this day on and into the future. I prayed and this is testament to a miracle; my beliefs were transformed; my heart changed, and my reality became a completely different one. I can only speak for myself; I am sure her story is quite unique in its own right.
I started to see exactly what I looked for, how she loved my dad.
When you love someone you genuinely want them to be happy. I longed so long to be the center of my dad’s world; but when I realized the battle of always fighting for what I believed was my rightful place, I finally faced the fact my dad was miserable. When we loved, laughed, and made an attempt to care; my dad’s face and energy was completely different; everyone was at peace. The minute I realized my dads heart was happiest when we were all the center of his world; I didn’t want to ever see his happiness fade.
It was a plus Cathy is one of the most motherly and nurturing ladies I have ever met, I fell in love with watching her love my kids with genuine love and the way she related to my kids in the same humor my dad had.
Cathy is a beautifully funny woman. She isn’t fake and tells you exactly how she feels, quite blunt on what her thought process is; just like me! People often tell me they admire my honesty, I know I can be a little harsh because of my ruthless honesty; I take that into consideration while trying to remain sensitive to others. People know exactly where they stand with her and with me; there is no fake hello’s or fake smiles; if you get one from us; it is because you are worth it.
As the years passed she has always tried to see things from my point of view and has always tried hard to advocate my dad to do the same; she has been an amazing support to me as an adult woman.
How would we ever had known the relationship we would develop had we not opened our hearts and put down our pride. It is not about a specific or set of specific things that I can say that magically did it; but more the ability to stop looking for the negative and make the choice to concentrate on all the positive. I love my dad and he has taught me throughout by his example we stand up by those we love, even when we don’t agree. WE try to make an effort to accept those people who our loved ones love just because its their choice. We will do anything we can for one another, even when it hurts and we must face our own fears. I think what also helped was tons of maturity in each of us, Cathy becoming a mother; and me allowing her to be mine. A mother is not always easy to love but love is always the answer. The person who will love and care for my dad for the rest of the days of his life; is my hero as well. So, when my dad married; I didn’t lose a hero; I gained one. <3