I was raised by my stepmother throughout most of elementary school and junior high school. She wasn’t a bad person, but like most of us, she had her problems. The most glaring of which, I am sad to say, was a serious jealousy of the father/son relationship I had with my father.
I was a typical boy, I suppose . . . I enjoyed fishing and racing my bike and I dreamed of being a soldier or an astronaut. My stepmother’s way of handling this situation was to bring me into her world, make boyish things distasteful to me and instead make me do 'special' things with her, things that no boy would do with his father’s knowledge, much less his approval.
In short, whenever my father was out of town I spent a great deal of my time learning the mysteries of lipstick, nylons and heels, not to mention household chores, dolls and books about girls. It was rough giving up my GI Joe for Barbie and 'Spider-Man' for Nancy Drew. I wasn’t too crazy about any of that at first, but it made my stepmother happy and kept peace in our home. And so, I just shrugged my shoulders, sighed … and learned to enjoy my predicament.
Anyway, whenever my dad was away, I spent many a Saturday and Sunday wearing girlish clothes, playing the role of 'Daphne', my stepmother’s favorite daughter. Instead of shooting my pellet gun and reading comic books, I would sit with her and watch romantic musicals or help with her knitting or sewing or some other sissy such thing. Sometimes she would 'let' me play on my own, which meant I had to pretend to enjoy playing with my Barbie and carrying a purse around the house.
That was what I had to face whenever my father left me in the hands of my mischievous and conniving stepmother.
Talk about feeling helpless.
As much as I hated some of the things I had to do back then, I now treasure the legacy I was given. I have to say that if given the choice ... I wouldn’t change a thing.
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