The whole STEP-whomever bothers me...
Fourteen years ago I met a woman at the school playground and since her son wanted to stay and continue playing with my son, and it was Friday, she agreed and the two of us sat down to chat. About ten months later she and D- moved in with J- and me and D- proudly announced to their second grade classmates, "J- and I are brothers!"[not step-brothers]. Four years later, the boys are planning on painting the basement black and replacing the stairs with a slide and she and I are shopping for a ring. She called one night to say that she had to "break up" with me because she was pregnant and "...you'll always resent the baby because he isn't yours." I disagreed, we discussed/argued, J-, now eleven, overheard and later questioned me about the call. When I reported the changed situation he broke into uncontrollable sobbing, "J_____ encouraged my hope that I'd have a mother who cares then she just took it away."[not step-mother]
As it turned out, I was present at the birth and developed a close relationship with the boy, even though we lived apart, so that when he was about five he said to me one afternoon, "I don't have a father and I need one. Would you be my father?" I'd love to, E-, but we'd better talk to your mom about it, and he did, that night. She sought the counsel of his pediatrition who expressed the opinion, "Biology has nothing to do with it. George is E-'s father."[not step]. It's been almost four years since I've seen him. Step- is not a concept which my heart can grasp. There is no comfort that "he's not really my son".
Thank heavens that E- is not "mine" because I'm sure that I would feel entitled to exercise my rights. That's what it's all about, as I recall from my reading on "blended" families, authority, entitlement, power, discipline, appreciation, respect, heck, that's always the issue with raising kids. And the love (which can make us so vulnerable) goes right out the window. Raising children is tough enough without imposing the manufactured idea of 'step'. It seems to me to be a dividing, rather than uniting, word. In The Prophet, Gibran shares his wisdom about children which is well worth contemplating.