In celebration, we had a family reunion with all their six children and almost all of the 15 grandchildren. Four of those grandchildren are stepchildren, two of those are mine. Yes, I have stepchildren, for which I am grateful. Being a stepparent is complicated, but I do get to express some of my mothering qualities with them. Although having stepchildren is not the same as having your own children, I treat them as my own when I am allowed and when I allow myself to. Part of treating them as my own was to bring them to the family reunion.
One of my brothers had the audacity to assume that we would not be bringing Magic's kids, my stepsons, to the reunion. He assumed that they didn't want to come. To me, that would be like saying that his children would not be coming if they did not want to. You drag your kids along if you have to, knowing that once they get there, they will be glad you did it. My other brother with the two stepdaughters understood how I felt about this, because he treats his stepdaughters as his own too. Originally, he told me that his two teenage stepdaughters would not be coming to the family reunion because they were busy with other things. I was pleasantly surprised to see them there this weekend. I can't help but think that my bringing my stepsons had something to do with it.
I felt sad at the reunion, seeing my brothers' and sisters' children and feeling pangs of longing for having a family of my own. Yesterday, my older stepson said to me, "I think your family is cool." I felt so good when he said that! He made a connection with my family and me. My Dad even made a point of saying how he had gotten to know my stepsons at the reunion. The circle had widened. I do have a family, even though it's not in the traditional sense of the word.