Sometimes when you enter into an arrangement, whether it be personal or otherwise, you get more than you expected.

Hair was one of those things.

Hair is my now, 18 year old son. To clarify, Hair is my step-son, a part of the deal when I entered into a relationship with the Artist Formerly Known As My Wife. At the time he was ten, a troubled and difficult age for any kid, made worse by the fact that his, somewhat less than stellar biological father was very much on the scene and making Hair’s life hell.

Through the past 8-9 years we navigated that terrain, a lot of the time just he and I as his mum wrestled with the complexities of her life and past and we became, in my mind anyway, father and son. Not part of the deal, but someone I could not live without.

I never referred to him as my ‘step’ son as, well, it seemed ridiculous. You don’t choose how much you love something or someone, you just love them. I had no blinkers or restraints on my care for him, I treated him, thought of him and loved him like my son so, that was it.

Son, he was.

Someone once said, in relation to their inherited family that the only steps they knew of were the ones leading up to the front door. I always liked that and treated Hair accordingly. He was, for loss of a better term, my ‘non’ step son.

Oh, and why ‘Hair’ I’m sure you’re asking? It’s most definitely not his real name, but refers more to the breath taking MASS of curls which nest upon his scone, now matted and morphing into thick cables of god knows what beneath an ever-present headband of dubious sanitary condition.

Unfortunately, I don’t really see Hair anymore. After he left home in a rage of confusion and dubious decision-making, he cut me off for the most part.

I have never really understood what I did to deserve such exile.

Knowing him as i do, i know how much pain he carries around in his good heart toward his biological father which he refuses, or is unable to deal with. Unfortunately, i fear that confusion and burying of emotion has flowed on to all father figures, myself included, leaving me in a nether world not of my own making.

We still see each other occasionally, passing in the street or incidentally occupying the same space in town. He is stand-offish and awkward. I try to be less so. I always offer a hug which is tentatively taken, but is always taken regardless.

He is a good boy, or i should say, young man. I know his heart well enough to know how good it is.

But i am not his parent anymore, he has made that clear.

Yet i still worry like a parent and i still love like a parent, though i have no import in his life at the present.

Still, his decisions may be able to define me as a parent, but they can’t change my own heart.

Son, he is. Son, he shall always be. Whatever he decides.

The only steps I know of are still the ones leading to my front door and they will always be most welcoming if he should choose to use them.

2 thoughts on “Hair.

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  1. Saw “The Sexless Life of a Single Parent” on Elephant Journal….a website that has become a mainstay as I have learned tons from it. Read your article thinking I could probably relate to pieces of it – and of course – I could. Initially I wanted to volunteer – to take one for the team – as a joke (LOL), but then decided to check out your other writing.

    What really struck me as I skimmed around and read some things more deeply, is that you have a 19 year old non-stepson that has put you into an exile of sorts. That instantly set off a trigger in me, as I have “lost” my 19 year old ADOPTED “step”son in my divorce. I came into his life when he was just turning four years old and struggling with the abandonment of his birth mother. He had a ton of behavioral, mental and emotional health issues as he moved through his early years and I fought so hard for him…harder than he will probably ever know and I have loved him even harder. But, I left his father and moved out of the marital home, which looks exactly like abandonment to him….abandonment by a mother-figure….again. Nothing I can say or do is going to change that for him. I have tried.

    Divorce sucks….losing a spouse is hard. It’s even harder to lose TWO people, a spouse and a child you have loved as your own and who has naturally sided with their bio-parent. It breaks my heart on a daily basis but I can’t stop hoping that some day he might see that I’m not the monster he believes me to be.

    I wish there was more material out there on this very specific issue. Maybe there is, and I’ve just not found it yet. Best wishes to you in your healing…and maybe Hair will come around, as I hope my fella will some day.


    1. Don’t know how this comment slipped by, but thank you, Heather, especially for offering considering ‘taking on e for the team’ I think i’m flattered, though not entirely sure 🙂 Your altruistic spirit is greatly appreciated though.
      It is a rough and often marginalised role being the step parent, isn’t it? And you’re right, there is not a lot out there that speaks of what we lose and what we go through. Perhaps this is an opportunity for you to share more on it, Heather. you express it very beautifully in your response here and i would love to read anything you wrote on the subject.


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