by Shadra Bruce

June 15, 2011. Today, my two youngest stepkids will turn 21. I’ve had the privilege of being a part of their lives since just before their 7th birthdays. Their bio mom gave up her share of custody when they were 5, and my husband Dave was doing a great job as a single dad when I met him. Although he had given up his job in order to be with them when they were not in school and was working in a low-paying restaurant job as a prep cook, the kids were happy.

When I first met the family, I was barely 26 years old and still mostly a kid myself. I was in a fairly volatile marriage, going on my 7th anniversary, but had never had children – and never planned to. I had met Dave online in a chat room and knew he was a single dad. We’d met in person at get-togethers for the members of the chat. Over time, as I came to know more about his situation having sole custody of the kids and his frustration at finding someone reliable to watch them occasionally, I offered to babysit and came to meet the kids.

Had I been someone Dave was planning to date, I would not have met the kids, because he was very protective of them. But I was going to be the babysitter. I did end up caring for the kids quite a lot, but never in the capacity we’d intended.

This is an excerpt from Shadra’ s book, Stories From a StepMom, available on Amazon Kindle. Read more or request a review copy.