Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

January 11, 2007

my stepmom's garden party

Billie is 14, an only child, and spends vacations with her father and stepmother. She always comes home with funny stories about these visits because her stepmother -- although nice -- is a social climbing snob and tries her best to smooth out the rough edges in her stepdaughter.

"Last time I visited, my stepmother took me to a garden party and told me is was going to be my debut into high society," explains Billie. "I had never attended an adult function like this before and my stepmother filled my head with all the dos and don'ts about proper behavior."

"What my stepmother never explained to me was the correct procedure for removing glass from my mouth when a fine crystal champagne flute broke in the middle of my sipping its contents," laughs Billie.

"I don't suppose any etiquette book has the answer to that one," sighs Billie, "so I had to use my wits."

"I was standing with a group of adults at the time the incident happened," says Billie, "and they were boring me to tears with some silly social gossip."

"I was tapping the glass flute against my teeth out of boredom," says Billie, "and the next thing I knew I had a mouth full of glass!"

"One of the ladies turned to me and said something and I just hid the glass behind my back and smiled sweetly with my teeth literally gritted with glass."

"I hope she didn't expect an answer to whatever she said," laughs Billie, "because I was suddenly overcome with terror that I would swallow the glass and I ran off to the nearest bushes."

"I spat out as much of the glass as I could and threw the broken champagne flute into the bushes - where I hope nobody will ever find it."

"I then brushed past lots of people trying to find the bathroom and when I got there I locked myself in and rinsed my mouth out thousands of times until I was certain that all the glass had been removed."

"There was a knock on the bathroom door and I heard my stepmother's voice asking if I was alright."

"I couldn't tell her the truth, she would have died with shame," laughs Billie, "so I lied and said that I had suddenly developed a tummy ache and she seemed to believe me."

"As expected, my stepmother was more concerned about the impression I made on her friends by running off in such an unladylike manner," laughs Billie.

She said: "Even if you have a tummy ache you should bear it as best you can and never, ever leave a group of people without first excusing yourself."

"Imagine what my stepmother would have said to me had I told her the truth," laughs Billie.

"She would have probably forced me to retrieve the broken glass from the bushes and pay for its replacement from my pocket money and I was certainly not going to do that!"

"She would have also probably made me apologize to the hostess for breaking her precious crystal glass," muses Billie, "and I wasn't prepared to do that either."

"No," says Billie, "all things considered I think I handled myself very well. Don't you?"

"I certainly won't be clicking any sort of glass to my teeth again - but then I don't expect my stepmother to be inviting me along to any more of her garden parties again, either!"

"It's always a relief when I come home to mom," says Billie. "She has no airs and graces like my stepmom and just lets me be myself."

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