Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

November 20, 2006

my stepdaughter's wedding

Rebecca is 32 and when she married Barney two years ago he was 53 with a 20-year old daughter, Kelsey.

"Kelsey and I got on like a house on fire right from the very start," says Rebecca.

"Her own mother was 51, in a totally different generation, and we had so many things in common that sometimes I was more like a sister to her than a stepmother," says Rebecca, "but she seemed to enjoy calling me mom and Barney was pleased that we got along so well."

"There was absolutely no trouble between Barney and his ex-wife," confides Rebecca. "They had divorced amicably after she had a cancer scare and had lost interest in sex, and although we didn't invite her to our wedding she gave us her blessings."

"But Kelsey was another story," sighs Rebecca. "She had never forgiven her mother for causing the marriage to break up and seemed to really dislike the woman."

"Countless times I explained to Kelsey - as a mother would to a daughter - that things happen between a man and a woman that no child can understand," says Rebecca, "and I tried to get her to make amends with her mother."

"Kelsey was adamant about not wanting to know her mother." sighs Rebecca. "According to her, the poor woman was old and fat and had a drinking problem and wasn't worth talking about. I guess she was ashamed of her own mother."

"I took on the role of a stepmother with a bit of misgiving because Kelsey's mother was alive and well and seemingly a very nice woman," says Rebecca. "For the sake of peace I finally gave up trying to reconcile Kelsey with her mom. I had Barney to think about and lots of housewifely things to attend to - I was a new wife and wanted to enjoy my new status."

"When Kelsey was nearly 22 she met a nice guy and wanted to get married," explains Rebecca, "and this is when all our troubles started."

"When the wedding plans were being made Kelsey told me that she wanted Barney and I to sit together as man and wife where the mother and father of the bride usually sit in the church," explains Rebecca. "Apparently, she didn't want her mother at the wedding at all."

"Kelsey told me that I was her mother now."

"Barney and I talked about this and felt that it was Kelsey's day and she should get what she wants," explains Rebecca, "but we both insisted that Kelsey's mother should be invited to the wedding - it would have looked very bad had she been ignored."

"Well, as things turned out," laughs Rebecca, "it would have been better had Kelsey's mother not been invited."

"As soon as Kelsey's mother received her invitation to the wedding she telephoned Barney and demanded to know why the invitation was addressed 'Barney and Rebecca request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of their daughter Kelsey'."

"Barney and Kelsey's mother had a furious row after which Barney conceded that it was right and proper that she, rather than I, should take the seat of the mother of the bride at the church," sighs Rebecca.

"I didn't mind, but Kelsey went into fits when she heard that her mother was going to be sitting where she wanted me to sit in the church," says Rebecca. "She nearly called the wedding off, vowing to run off to Reno or something!"

"Barney calmed her down and on the day everything went well, but you could cut the air with a knife in the church because of the tension between Kelsey and her mom."

"Luckily, Kelsey's mom left the wedding party after the church service and refused to go to the reception," says Rebecca, "so from then onwards peace prevailed."

"I really don't understand what happened between Kelsey and her mom after her parents divorced," says Rebecca. "Hopefully, in time, Kelsey will grow up and sort things out. Until then, I'll be there for her."

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