Do I have children?

I got to the space on the Who’s Who form where it asked for the names of my sons and daughters and decided to come back to it another day.
At the furniture store where we bought a new mattress, we told the lefthanded salesperson that we were both left-handed, too, and she innocently asked if we had any children. “No,” I replied, then looked at my husband said, “Well, he does.”
Last Mother’s Day, I told anyone who asked that I was not a mother. Period.
What happened to my stock answer of “I have three stepchildren?” For years, that’s what I said, that’s what I wrote on forms, that’s what I put on those pesky high-school reunion questionnaires, that’s what I wound up telling Who’s Who.
It was a good answer. It acknowledged my husband’s sons and daughter while conveying that I have not actually given birth. People would know that yes, there were children in my life, even if they weren’t mine. I could go on to discuss being a Boy Scout mom, dealing with teenage attitudes, planning a daughter’s wedding or welcoming grandchildren into the family. Just don’t ask me about birth, colic or potty training because I don’t know.
But that was years ago. The kids are grown. My stepdaughter has a granddaughter now, and I may never see that child outside of Facebook.
It’s partially our fault because we moved away to Oregon–something I would never have agreed to do if I had children of my own back in California.
The step between me and my stepchildren became a chasm when my husband came down with Alzheimer’s Disease and moved to a nursing home. He doesn’t always remember that he has children. And now, when people ask, I just say no. It’s easier. I still care about them and hope they care about me, but the only thing we have in common these days is our last name.
My, this is a gloomy post, isn’t it? It’s really okay. It’s just a fact. What about you? When people ask if you have children, do you count stepchilden or other non-biological children in your life or just say “no.”

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3 thoughts on “Do I have children?

  1. If people ask you if you have children, you should reply with the question, “Why do you ask?”

    Or, in the case of the salesperson, ask, “Is it necessary for me to have children in order to make a purchase here?” 😀

    Like

  2. If my husband is with me at the time, I say “I don't have any children, but he has a son.” If I'm by myself I just say no. Both answers usually stop a conversation cold. If my stepson is with me, and someone refers to him as my child, I correct them, as does my stepson. He's very quick to tell people I'm not his mom (God forbid someone like me is actually his MOM!). Also stops conversations. People have no idea what to say.

    Like

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