THE BLOG
09/29/2015 12:31 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2016

It Is Possible to Be Friends With the Stepmom

Marcie is my daughter's stepmom, or as we say in our family, her second mom. We've never really referred to her as stepmother unless we were trying to describe the nature of her relationship in our family.

When my ex shared that he was going to get married, I knew that I would need to meet his soon-to-be wife. My ex and I were actively co-parenting our daughter, and his wife would be an important part of that.

I was determined to welcome Marcie into my life with open arms. She had just moved to Los Angeles from another state and didn't really know anyone here. My daughter was about 8 years old then, and I just could not stand the thought of having a high-drama, contentious relationship with my ex and his new wife.

I can't remember what I said exactly when we met, but it was along the lines of: Marcie, I want you to know that I'm so grateful you and my daughter get along, and I'd like us to be friends so that we can support each other as she grows up.

I remember telling her that the more people in my daughter's life that love her, the better. And that I'd be here for her if she needed me. She also had nice things to say and we were both relieved.

So that began our relationship. Over the years, we've gotten to know each other and have been able to talk about a lot of issues that have come up. Marcie has been there to help me out countless times. At birthday parties, some of the other parents often asked if she was my sister because we got along so well. They were shocked (I mean jaw-dropping shocked) when I told them that she was my girl's stepmom. They often asked, "How are you okay with her here?" or "Doesn't it annoy you that your daughter likes her?" No, it never annoyed me, and I genuinely like her.

Many years ago, I had a home assignment to complete for my master's degree. For part of it I asked my family to write me a letter about what it's been like having me in their life. Here is some of what Marcie wrote (shared with Marcie's permission, and we'd only known each for about three years then):

I have always wanted children, and you have this wonderful and beautiful little girl. Knowing you has shown me a different way of thinking. You've shown me that stepmoms don't have to be "evil." That mother and stepmother can share responsibilities and understand our child's needs and she's a lucky girl by having two moms that are different ... You could've made my relationship with your daughter difficult, but you didn't. I also have a friend in you. You've touched my life in a way that's special.

Marcie and my ex divorced about two years ago, and she has moved back to her home state. When it was clear that divorce was going to happen, I sat on my daughter's bed and we both cried. Having Marcie as a regular part of our lives has been a blessing, and we were both sad that this was going to change.

So this is my love letter to you, Marcie.

I am so grateful for the years that you and I have been partners in raising our amazing young woman. I think we've done pretty well. I'm so grateful that we have created a friendship that is meaningful. You have been someone that I have been able to rely on -- a rock. I always felt reassured that our daughter was leaving my house and going to yours, because I knew you would take good care of her like she was your own. I couldn't have asked for a better second mom for my sweet girl. I'm sad that you've moved, and we miss you terribly. I know that we'll see each other and talk, but LA has lost an angel. Thank you for all the ways that you've touched my life.

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