My stepkids' mother could not be a more different person than I am. This is neither compliment nor criticism, just a statement of fact. Another fact is that her children, my stepkids, uniformly perfer her style to mine.
They like me well enough (all but one...), but in any contrast/comparison between she and I, she will come out on top. Now, I don't set myself up to compete with her. The children have no idea I feel this way, but to me, it's a self-evident fact that there is no fighting. It is what it is. She is their mother, after all, and I'm just .... Mary. Dad's wife.
We had a huge snowstorm here yesterday. The kids were to go back to their mother's house, but the roads were impassible, so it was agreed they'd stay the night. No problem. When we woke up, "Snow day?!?!?" was the question of the hour.
I listened to the radio. All buses were cancelled for all school boards, English, French, Catholic, Public. The schools themselves were open, but with no buses and people being told not to drive unless they had to (to allow snow removal crew to do their jobs), I told the kids they could stay home.
And, lo, there was great rejoicing. Because hey, I've been a teacher. I know what happens on days when the buses are closed but the schools are open: Nothing. For the few children who do show up, you can't go ahead with the curriculum, only to have to repeat the lessons when everyone arrive in a day or two. It's just glorified babysitting.
The children are delighted, and we start making plans for the day. All sorts of possibilities tossed around: Christmas baking, boad games, a walk to the local park to flounder in the snow... until... there's a sudden loud honking from on the street. It's my stepkids' mother, there to drive them to school. We had no idea she was coming. They go out to try to negotiate with her, but "negotiations" must've been curtailed abruptly, because the car pulled away less than a minute after they reached the car.
I know they must have been disappointed. And for once, I know that, in a comparison with their mother, I looked good. Without even trying. I don't think that's ever happened before.
I shouldn't take such satisfaction. But I do.