When Daddy and I 'merged' here we weren't married yet. I came with Charming and Glory, both in high school and Daddy came with Mystery and Jabber in elementary school. All together under one happy little roof.
I remember Jabber asking me if he should/could call me Mom and I told him that I knew that he has a mother and that he didn't have to call me that. Part of me wishes I'd given him more of a chance to then, but I also knew that Mystery was all ready to tell him that they HAVE a mother and not only was I not it, but that she wouldn't be happy.
I knew that I did it on purpose, but it didn't hit me until maybe two years later that I should have tried to figure something out about saying "I love you" to my kids. Any of them, all of them. I know that I purposely didn't keep saying it to my own kids because I didn't want the other two to feel pressure to respond in kind or to feel left out. Glory hit me with it one day when she was having a meltdown, and told me that I used to say it ALL the time and she really missed that. That it had made her feel a little replaced by Daddy and maybe also the other kids, since they also got my attention.
I felt so horrible when she said that, you can only imagine. I sure didn't mean to lessen my own kids, and I could see what she was saying though. That's one of few things in life that I'd like a real do-over, kwim? I'm not entirely sure how I would have navigated, but I wish I had been more aware and made a different effort.
We're back to saying it now. ALL the time when on the phone with Glory and Charming. All the time with Daisy and Jabber, and Mystery just isn't here or in the room or in a sentence long enough - so I'll admit that she doesn't hear it from me. I'm still working on that one in my head, and trying not to give up bit it feels like I have and have to. I keep holding out that there's still a chance with Jabber, so I'm not giving up and I know that when he comes home from TWrecks lately he does feel loved here, that we want him here. I'm going to post another ADHD type post soon and it won't sound completely like that but it's just that everything isn't cut and dry.
So, do you say it to your step-kids? Do you say it to your bios?