It's difficult being a step-parent. Difficult for the parent (the step one and the "real" one) and for the child no matter how old they are. I thought it would be easier for a child who is an adult or almost an adult but you know, I think it's even more difficult. I've seen it in Adrian. We became his "parents" just because we're raising him not because we adopted him. I'm the Mom and his mom's the Mom. I've seen the confusion not in his mind but in his emotions. There was a time about a year ago especially when I could sense that he was really struggling with the balance, "How can I love and be loyal to my Mom and still feel like I love Aunt Sandy." I've tried to be sensitive and help the best I can and Uncle Mike is over-the-top sensitive and insightful and has been the light that is leading Adrian through this maze of uncertain emotions. He's coming out of it and very stongly loves his Mom and he realizes it's OK to love me too. It's a different love. I can only compare this to what children no matter what age feel when they have a step-parent. Within the first couple of years of our marriage Rachael, Mike's oldest daughter introduced me to one of her relatives as her step-mom. It was one of those moments that make time stand still and the entire earth glow. I love my step-daughters and I don't want to take their mother's place I just want them to let me love them. My children became step-children at the same time they were struggling to get through college, get established in their careers and provide for themselves. Alex was 13 when we got married and he lived with us. We gave him space and he gave us space. He juggled the balancing act very respectfully and honorably. The Lord is blessing us all. After almost 12 years we are coming together. There are six children plus Adrian so that makes 7. We seldom see Mikes daughters, they are going through "it" in their own lives and I've assured him that they'll be back. My children have been "through it" and now they're back. They are respectful, loving, kind and accepting. They all called Mike for Father's Day and Amy, bless her dear sweet loving heart, prepared a wonderful Mexican Buffet and gave Mike an adorable, very endearing "Happy Father's Day Grandpa" card with a beautiful picture of the grandbabies. She has only referred to Mike as Grandpa and Berkley loves her "PaPa". When Major was born she introduced Mike to one of her friends as "My Step-Dad." It's another one of those moments when time stands still and the entire earth glows. We are so blessed.