Hannah’s stepmom and I have always had a pretty good relationship. I’d have her little girl over to bake cookies, she’d cut my hair. I’d do crafty projects for her, she’d cook for me. Hannah’s dad could have chosen anyone, but he ended up choosing a good person who treats Hannah really well.
That being said, stepmom has a habit of letting things fester until she can’t hold it in any longer and then releases her frustrations in a super passive aggressive way. I then have to realize this and try to talk to her frankly about the problem. This works pretty well. Except this last time.
Hannah was struggling toward the end of this school year with several things and I asked if we could adjust her schedule with her dad and stepmom. Dad was fine with it, but stepmom got very upset. The change was small and temporary, so I just kinda figured she’d get over it. But she didn’t. And she texted me about it. A lot. Real long scathing texts. The kind that make you want to go to the person’s house and ask “Are you alright?”
So I called her hoping we could turn things around and get back to normal. But things didn’t really improve and, in fact, became even more infuriating. We hung up in a so-so place and later that evening she texted me letting me know she wasn’t going to answer my texts going forward, only phone calls. Obviously, I didn’t reply. Since that would be texting.
I was really hurt because I had always made a big effort to be appreciative and to make things comfortable and mutually supportive between our blended family members. Some of that hurt turned into anger as I thought of ways I could avoid dealing with her.
Weeks go by with no communication between the two of us. Spite had forced me to begin coordinating plans through her dad, the not-as-effective communicator. By the Fourth of July, I decided I would offer an olive branch when I picked up Hannah. So I made a cupcake run and headed on over.
On my way, I reasoned that stepmom’s bad reaction weeks earlier was probably just her feeling insecure about Hannah’s time with them. Maybe she took my schedule change to mean that Hannah didn’t want to be at their house. So once I arrived, we all exchanged pleasantries and chit chatted as if nothing had happened.
I deemed the mission successful until stepmom text me the next day. It was a nice text about picking Hannah up and taking her this place and that place. Normal. But I couldn’t bring myself to respond. I remembered her message of forbidden texting and a mixture of hurt and stubbornness washed over me as I turned into Scarlett O’Hara:
As God is my witness, I will never text you again!
But the cupcakes were nice, right? Baby steps.