Ok, I'll admit that I do not feel that 'I gave birth to you and you're of my flesh and blood' love towards my step-kids. And just for the record, my husband doesn't feel that way towards my kids either. Is it morally wrong? Absolutely not. Is it normal? Absolutely.
I'll admit though that I've become rather fond of my husbands youngest son. At first he drove me nuts. He is what we call undiagnosed ADHD to the max (and before all of you 'you're not a doctor and don't self-diagnose or put a label on kids' type of people get your panties in a wad, please know that I have done hours of research and read all the books because I happen to have a teenage daughter that is diagnosed ADD and on medication so I kind of know what I'm talking about. And if you're going to 'Tom Cruise Sciontology drugs are glib' on me, I will happily debate you but know that I am going to totally 'mama-bear-matrix-ninja-jackie-chan-your-butt into tomorrow when all is said and done).
So, back to my step-son and why he has driven me nuts for three years is a kunundrum in itself because he and my daughter are so much alike - except for the hyperactivity thing. But in the past few months, I really have seen a different side of this kid and to be honest, get quite a kick out of him. I think part of it is that I am ultra-competitive and so is he. Not that we necessarily threaten to have 'throw-downs' and do the ultimate smack talk thing, but when he invited me to ride a pretty tricky bike trail and I had to take a rain check he knew I was serious when I said "Dang, I have to get ready for our 4th of July BBQ, but next time you ask me I'll be happy to show you how to ride those trails like a real woman." OK - so maybe I didn't word it quite that way, but I did mention eating dust and make some reference to him sucking air behind me. Anyway, it'll be fun to ride with him and see what he's made of.
I guess the biggest thing for me is just seeing my step-son for who he is and accepting that. I don't know that I'll ever love him like my own, but when I made the decision to just see the cool stuff about him and quit focusing on what drove me nuts that's when it changed. What do I like most about him? That I can throw down a challenge and he'll say "Bring it on Sistah." That indeed is a kid after my own heart.