This was on my Facebook feed today...
In January 2014, NASCAR driver Brian Scott married Whitney Kay, mother of an adorable little girl named Brielle. During their wedding ceremony, Scott made "vows" to Brielle, promising to commit to her. I won't rehash exactly what he said because you can watch the video for that. I do think it's kind of sweet that he acknowledged the little girl in their wedding, even though if you've read this blog, you may already know how I feel about things like "daddy/daughter dates" and stepdads giving their stepdaughters expensive jewelry. At the same time, I have to wonder where little Brielle's father is and if he's alright with another man pledging to be surrogate daddy to his daughter.
Don't get me wrong; I do admire stepfathers who are loving, supportive, and ready to step up to the plate and pitch in as the term "step" implies... but I also have respect for bio fathers, who too often are pushed out of their children's lives through no choice of their own (even as I acknowledge that there are plenty of bio dads out there who willingly walk away from their kids).
And then I think about what would happen if the situation were reversed and Whitney Kay Scott was the childless one marrying a man with kids. What would happen if she made "vows" to her stepchildren, provided that they would even be allowed to attend the wedding ceremony? Wouldn't those kinds of vows offend their biological mother? Would the public be nearly as supportive of such a gesture if it came from a stepmom?
I know that for many people, dads are pretty disposable. A lot of people don't even know their fathers because they took off... or maybe they were tossed out of their lives like my husband was tossed out of his kids' lives. For the record, Bill took care of his ex stepson as if he was the boy's father. When I first met him, he referred to his former stepson his son and the lad even used Bill's surname, which he promptly ditched once he couldn't use Bill for money anymore.
It wasn't until we knew each other better that Bill accurately explained their legal relationship to me. I know that if his kids had even been allowed to attend our wedding-- which they certainly were not-- their mother would have had a total conniption if I had dared to make such gushy commitments to them, especially in public. Moreover, had we been a prominent couple whose wedding was featured on The Today Show, I doubt people would be oohing and ahhhing over me making "wedding vows" to some other woman's children. Instead, they'd be clamoring about how I should show more respect to their mother, no matter what a hostile and toxic shrew she is.
I didn't comment on this "news item" because the comments were so overwhelmingly in favor of the "happy couple" and I didn't want to invite drama; though I did notice one stepmother was brave enough to say this:
Nope. Marriage is between the man and woman. Kids do not belong in the marriage dynamic. They are kids and their parents are responsible for them not TO them. I'm an 17-year stepmother. Have 2 great step kids but I didn't marry them. I married their father. I helped their parents raise them.
She got a lot of nasty sniping comments for her trouble. Another guy asked what the story with the bio dad was and a bunch of people told him it was "none of his business". Okay... well, if it's no one's business, why is it news? Are we only allowed to make supportive comments about this?
Anyway, I do hope that if Brielle's biological dad is in the picture, he wasn't too hurt by this very public display. And if he's not in the picture, I truly hope Brian Scott lives up to all the promises he's made to that little girl. I hope he and Whitney have a long and happy marriage and he doesn't walk out of their lives... or get kicked out like my husband was. I also hope Brielle's dad wasn't kicked out of his daughter's life.
Unfortunately, marriage statistics are not on this couple's side, but maybe they will be an exception. Hell... maybe I'm making assumptions. I don't even know if Whitney was married to her daughter's father or if she had her the old fashioned way or visited a sperm donor. Nowadays, you can't assume women who have kids also have an ex husband or boyfriend out there. ETA: I see Whitney was once married to another NASCAR driver, Sean Caisse, and apparently he is the father of little Brielle.
In any case, let the record show that, no... I don't like the idea of "marrying" stepchildren. I don't think it's the stepparent's role unless there truly is no bio parent in the picture and the stepparent intends to formally adopt the child. I don't think it's appropriate for stepparents to lay claim to their stepchildren unless they are actually without biological parents. But I guess I'm old fashioned that way.