Yesterday, I discussed how I wanted to resurrect the Brothers Grimm and whip their linguistic little asses for their centuries-old stepmother smear campaign. Today, I’m going to share how that cultural bias almost killed my stepdaughter.
Big A. had several strep infections per year when she was younger. During her twelfth summer, she got one that knocked her flat. Her fever spiked, and my gut told me this particular illness was serious. I took her to her pediatrician, and I shared my fears. I was scared, and I asked him if he would consider giving her a shot of antibiotics first to sort of boost things along. Keep in mind that I knew very little about sick kids, but I had remembered my own doctor giving me a shot for a bad strep infection, and I felt better almost immediately.
This bastard looked at me and said, “What are you, a wicked stepmother asking me to stick a needle in this child’s behind?’
He then looked at Big A. and added, “Are you Cinderella, and is she going to make you scrub the floors when you get home?”
Due to professional connections between Big A.’s mother and stepfather to this practice, I said very little at the time. Believe it or not, I didn’t want to rock the boat. Back then, it was much more important for all of us to get along for the kids’ sake than to rightfully smack the shit out of this self-righteous douchebag.
Turns out, I’m not so stupid and evil after all. Dr. Pissant gave her a form of antibiotics that I told him hadn’t worked for her in the past. Two weeks later, Big A. was in the hospital with strep meningitis. She had a morphine drip for a week and a helicopter on stand-by because her kidneys were shutting down. After five days, she finally responded the antibiotics and, thankfully, recovered fully.
Some of the nurses on staff eagerly awaited what they thought would be inevitable drama between the four terrified parents sitting at the child’s bedside. One doctor even told us we were weird for all being in the same room. It would be much easier for step and bio parents to get along if some members of society didn’t secretly want to watch a step-smackdown. I guess we disappointed them. We mainly just prayed or willed Big A. to breathe when the morphine slowed her respirations to nearly zero.
I attempted to file a complaint on the pediatrician, but Dr. Shithead swore he never made those statements to me. I guess Big A. could have addressed the medical board to substantiate my case, but to what end?
As a family, we have all done the best we could to help Big A. and Big T. have the happiest childhood possible in a joint custody situation. Since 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, millions of other stepfamilies are working for the same results—happy, well-adjusted kids. It doesn’t take a child psychologist or a 15th century linguist to note that blending a family isn’t easy. Spend five minutes with Big T. or Big A. and you will quickly realize why we fervently believe it was all well worth it.
Now, will the rest of you self-righteous smart-assed people who insist on staring into the blended family fishbowl quit judging and let your step-stereotypes eat the poison apple and die? If you don’t, I’ll make you lick my kitchen floor clean!