I recently took a trip for business and while on the plane I did what I often do – I read a book. What I noticed on this particular trip was that three different people asked me what I was reading and then seemed to instantly form opinions about me based on my selection. I’m not embarrassed. I was reading “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. It’s a well written novel with delightful characters in an enchanting setting. But I somehow felt that the reactions I got after sharing this news would have been vastly different if instead of this cover, I would have flashed “War and Peace” or something by Danielle Steel.
All of this is to say that I think as a society we may do the same thing with children and their parents. People come into contact with the children and instantly form opinions of the parent(s) based on that.
It’s a little bit odd though when you are the bonus parent. In the case of my bonus kids, I have only been part of the parenting team for one year. For most of them, that is still a fairly small percentage of their lives. I couldn’t possible have influenced their manners, mannerisms, clothing tastes, likes, dislikes or even cultural capital all that much in one year’s time. And yet, I know that some people who see us together don’t know that I am new to their lives.
I suspect many who see me with my bonus kids errantly suspect I am the mom. Well, that’s okay with me. Overall, the kids are incredibly smart, get top-notch grades, are kind to others, behave well and have a terrific sense of humor. If you want to judge this parent by those kids, go right ahead. Hey – maybe I am on to something. Next time I fly, I think I’ll swap out the dust cover. Now if I can just find one that makes me look bright, talented, compassionate, loyal, enlighted and more.