My Wife Breaks Her Silence #2

“They’re actually his step-kids.”

I cannot tell you the number of times this statement has been typed into a Facebook comment when discussing something Sean has said. Sean never makes this differentiation, but people feel a compulsion to ensure others know my three older kids “aren’t really Sean’s.” This is not one person; these kinds of comments have been made by numerous residents of this community and overlooked by thousands of others. If Sean doesn’t make this distinction, why do people feel the distinction needs to be made?

Dynamics between a child and their step-parent can vary dramatically. Some of those relationships are bad – some due to the step-parent and others due to the child. In some, they’re viewed as friends and not authority figures. In others, there is a highly involved biological parent, and the step-parent has to walk a tight rope between loving the child and serving as a parental figure while being careful not to infringe on their relationship with the other biological parent. In some, the step-parent has been the only person ever present in the role. The dynamic will vary based on the unique circumstances for every family.

However, it is not up to the public at large to determine your dynamic, and you should ALWAYS follow the lead the family has given you.

Much like with adoption – if an adoptive parent doesn’t refer to their child as adopted, who the hell do you think you are to make sure that distinction is made – and in public no less?
The most mouth dropping public commentary on this topic regarding our family was the lecture that was given on how Sean was trying to step into a role he didn’t need to fill – that of their “real” father. This person likely doesn’t even know the names of my kids, but they’re sure of what role Sean should or shouldn’t play in their lives. I can only imagine this particular diatribe was espoused by someone who resents the role a step-parent plays in their child’s life?
The most mouth dropping private commentary was when Patti Lacy – the wife of School Board Trustee Bill Lacy – sent Sean a Facebook message telling him to admit that he didn’t feel the same about my older kids as he did the one we biologically shared together. Would she have made that same statement if his kids were adopted?

From the things I shouldn’t have to explain because they’re none of your &$*%#€£ business files –
I began dating Sean when my older children were 12, 9, and 7. We hadn’t lived in the same country – yes, country – as their biological father for almost six years at that point. My children were 7, 4, and 1 when we left the country. And, yep, their biological dad gave me permission to move.

Sorry to inform the haters, but there is no drama between my ex-husband and my current husband; they get along great as anyone who attended my daughter’s Sweet 16 can tell you. My ex-husband knows they call Sean Dad and is thankful I ended up marrying someone who loves our kids and treats our kids as if they were his own.

My oldest son passed away earlier in my and Sean’s relationship. Sean never pretends to understand the pain myself, and my ex went through.

Sean’s primary pain from his passing came from watching me fall to the floor upon my ex-husband telling me my son had taken his last breath – unable to breathe myself and yelling I wanted to trade places with my son. His pain was compounded by watching my daughter and my middle son heaving tears from the depths of their stomachs, asking him why their brother was gone, and as he held my children’s’ hands during their brother’s funeral.

Sean has always had to walk a tight line in how he refers to my oldest – never wanting to claim a bond with him he didn’t have time to develop – and yet being uncomfortable segmenting him alone out as his “step-son” while not making that distinction for the other kids. I told him that since he didn’t make the distinction for the other kids, I didn’t see the need for him to make it about my oldest either.

In late 2018, Sean adopted my daughter at her request, and she carries his last name officially now after years of using it unofficially – it’s been on her Letterman since Sophomore year. My middle son calls Sean Dad of his own volition but sees him as a secondary Dad. Sometimes he makes the distinction Sean is his step-dad when discussing him with others, sometimes he doesn’t, and Sean is fine with him interchanging the titles. He has a relationship with each of my kids that they want and need him to have.

Why do some of you feel the need to devalue his feelings for my other children? Worse, why do some of y’all need to make comments that those children can see devaluing their position in his life? What is wrong with y’all? Why do some of y’all let friends and neighbors make these statements in public and private groups without explaining to them what assholes it makes them?
And yet despite these comments repeatedly being made where they can see them, not a single board member or candidate has denounced that kind of discussion being had. I invite you to ask your candidate for their opinion on this matter. And if you don’t find yourself feeling some level of disgust if they attempt to defend this behavior, then I ask you to delete yourself from my friends’ list.

This is the kind of crap we’ve been dealing with since the day my husband decided to speak out against the school board. This is the kind of crap we’ve turned the other cheek to, but no more. Sean is more diplomatic than me; I’m done with not calling this shit out.

If you choose to keep these people in office, or elect those they champion, you’re not going to be able to claim you didn’t know what kind of people they are and what kind of behavior they find acceptable.

The voting booth contains only you and your conscience. Please use it.

Rae Dolan

Sean Dolan

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