These days, I feel life is like a drama. I never was greedy. Ever since I was young, I was satisfied with what was given to me, rather than struggling so hard. I felt bound to live in a way that wouldn’t harm anyone or be a burden to anyone and just beautifully go on with my responsibilities.
However, life did not flow the way I thought it would. I was proud that I had accomplished as much as anyone, but difficulties began at that time. No consoling words were helpful and I regretted that I ended up like this because I wasn’t realistic.
After battling a fierce storm, I have now found some stability, and I wanted to tell someone about my story. At a late age, I met a decent man and got remarried. Currently, I’m living in the suburbs of Beverly Hills. Now I own a building and live comfortably without lacking anything, but I spent many sad years before getting to where I am now. I’m not doing well because of my own efforts, so I want to live the rest of my life in deep gratitude.
I was too busy making a living that I didn’t even have time to date and became an old maid way past my prime time to get married. I ended up marrying a widower who chased after me. My husband was raising a son and a daughter after his wife passed away.
We met at the factory where I worked. At that time, my husband was supplying materials to the factory. After meeting me a few times at the office, he confessed that he fell in love with me. He was raising his children alone without a wife. His children were at the age of six and four, like me.
Contrary to my worries, I was worried about what would happen if they didn’t like me. But they call me Mom affectionately. I felt a pang in my heart, but I was grateful. I thought it was because they missed their mom since it happened three years since she died.
My stepchildren grew up without giving me any trouble, and the siblings got along well with each other. My stepdaughter was dependable, as she was more mature and took good care of herself as well as her younger brother. My stepson was mischievous, but he still was naive and very cute.
However, they started to distance themselves from me when my stepdaughter entered high school and her puberty. One day, my stepdaughter returned home from school, refusing the snack I made for her, and asked me grimly, “Mom, be honest. Did you marry my dad for money? Didn’t you? If that’s true, you’ve been pretending to love us all this time, haven’t you?”
“What are you talking about? How can you say that after you’ve observed me for so long? I don’t know where and what you’ve heard, but your dad and I got married because we loved each other, and I never have for one second thought that you were not my own children. That also will be true in the future.” I was totally heartbroken.
“Don’t lie! I heard everything from my cousin at school. My aunt said that you married my dad because of Dad’s money. That’s why you bought us only cheap clothes and backpacks and gave us so little allowance. Are you still saying you didn’t deceive us? Stop lying, please!” My stepdaughter screamed at me.
“You believe in that aunt who never made any contact all this time, yet cannot believe your mom who has lived with you? I try my best to raise you guys like everyone else, by buying you the best-branded clothes and backpacks, to help you feel more confident. I’m not trying to show off, but I’m asking you to at least recognize my sincere heart.” However, my stepdaughter got more upset with me.
“If you’re so concerned, at least raise my allowance. If you’re concerned that I should stand tall among my friends, give me more money so I won’t feel shame going to school.” At that time, my husband’s company was struggling with financial problems. I was considering even getting a nanny’s job because our income was not enough.
“My stepdaughter was not aware of that. Right now, our financial situation is not good. If you need money, why don’t you get a part-time job? You need to earn money for yourself to realize how hard your Dad is working to support you. Making money is not as easy as you think.”
“I knew it! You pretended all this time to be nice to us when only you live comfortably.” She slammed the door. Seeing my stepdaughter who has changed, I was worried whether I had raised the children the wrong way.
A few days later, I got a call from my stepdaughter’s homeroom teacher. “Your daughter has been missing her classes often these days, and she even beats up other kids in school. She used to be a quiet student, so I tried to counsel her and warn her, but it’s not working. Yesterday, she extorted money from her classmates. If she continues like this, I reprimanded her that she won’t be able to graduate from the school and go on to college, but she just left school without permission during lunch.”
I told her teacher that it was all my fault. I apologized to the student my stepdaughter confiscated money from and paid her back. After this incident, many more repeated, which made my son complain that I was only paying attention to his sister. In the end, my stepdaughter got a suspension from her school. My stepdaughter said it happened for the better, saying she wanted to just earn money by quitting school.
“I don’t understand why you’re behaving like this. What do you mean that a high school student wants to make money? You still have to graduate. The world is not an easy place to deal with.” My husband and I begged our daughter. Somehow, it seemed that got through to her, and she decided to graduate from high school. Of course, her grades were too poor to go to a university, but she said that after she graduated from high school, she wanted to go about and raise herself. She wanted us not to stop her.
Then she left home to rent a room with her girlfriend to live together. When my stepdaughter left this time, my stepson became a problem. He learned from watching his sister. It seems he thought that we would pay more attention to him if he caused trouble by skipping school and hanging around with bad friends. My husband wanted to at least send his son to a university. He even practically imprisoned his son at home to get him expensive tutoring, but his son failed to enter College.
Even though I did not give birth to them, I raised them earnestly with all my heart. But when both failed to enter College, I was saddened. I felt sorry, as if it was because of my lack of dedication. Both my husband and I were confident that we gave them everything like anybody else. But when both ended up like that, I could only sigh. Then my stepson also declared that he wanted to become independent and started to roam outside.
If the kids happened to come home and run into each other, the two would fight like cats and dogs. “Hey, you said you are making money, but why are you always scheming ways to get money from home? You must be financially independent to call it a real independence,” says my stepdaughter.
“How dare you lecture me? How well are you doing? At least I didn’t cause trouble like you when I was in school. You only were able to graduate because of Mom and Dad. Why do you mouth off always when you did nothing good? You also get money from home too, so why are you after me always?” As I watched these kids fighting like that, my husband and I suffered in frustration. We were worried for them whether we could see them or not.
I often left the house to nurse my sick Grandma, who was my father’s Aunt, trying to avoid my encounters with the kids as much as possible. Still, the thoughts of our children stay with me. I felt like it was my fault that the kids turned out this way. I was sad that the kids who used to be angels started to go astray and waste their life like this.
I didn’t know how they earned money, but they sent boxes of apple or meat as gifts during the holidays. I was worried if they would cause any more trouble, but fortunately, that didn’t happen. So I decided to be grateful for the status quo. As years passed, my stepchildren found their mates and got married. My stepdaughter had a baby not too long after she got married. Because it was her first grandchild, we were very happy.
But it was tough when they got married. Somehow, the two of them selected their wedding dates one month back to back, so we couldn’t provide all the financial help as they wanted. My husband and I discussed and decided to spend an equal amount of money on each of their weddings. Those two, who used to fight like crazy before, started to nag at us while spying on each other’s wedding preparations.
“Mom, are you paying for more expensive furniture because he’s the son of the family, or are you taking revenge on me because I gave you a hard time when I was in high school?” My stepdaughter would complain like that.
“That’s not true. It was so hard to get your wedding dress and furniture by spending the same amounts as your brothers because you guys are getting married only one month apart. It’s taking a big toll on us. Your brother came to us yesterday, demanding why we are sending you to a better honeymoon place. Are you guys planning on torturing us to death like this? I’m getting very sick of this.” I became so angry from exhaustion that I snapped sternly.
Then the two didn’t yell anymore with complaints and quietly had their weddings and got on with their new family lives. But it got noisy again soon. No matter how mean they were, they were still our children. They came home during the holidays, and it felt like a home. The noises of our children filled the house. My husband seemed to be happy on that day, that he became talkative after a few drinks.
“Yes, this is what family is. No matter how complicated it was in the past, it is so great that now we gathered here all together.” My husband’s words flowed out. “Your mom and I want to live a little more in peace now,” he said with a smile.
“Honey, you’re talking a lot with a few drinks. And you, we are at peace if our children live happily,” I added. Then my stepson said, “Now that we’re talking, how will you distribute our inheritance? You need to do this in advance so that there won’t be any conflicts and be peaceful, just as you said.”
Then my stepdaughter added, “I won’t stand for it if you give more money to him just because he’s a son. Honestly, I didn’t fight at our Weddings, but it’s true you guys gave more to Steve.”
When my stepson heard his sister, he yelled, “What nonsense! You got everything you could get, yet why are you bringing it up only now? Mom and Dad spent the same amount for our weddings and let you check them several times, didn’t they? Do you really want to go that far so you can get more inheritance?”
They ended up fighting again. I became heartbroken. It was so embarrassing to see my kids, spouses, and grandchildren. I wanted to go and hide somewhere. My husband got furious and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Is this what you do on family holidays? Why are you like this? When I had already given you so much money, I don’t know why you guys are demanding this and that when it’s my money.”
Then my stepdaughter said, as if it was unfair to her, “That’s because you have lived by only doing everything for the benefit of Mom. And add her accusations.”
My husband couldn’t take it any longer and stomped out. My stepson blamed his sister for everything and threw the fruit tray at her, and began fighting again. The two raised their voices at each other into fistfights. They fought even when they were outside as they were leaving, and the police came after the next-door neighbor reported it.
I was so angry that I chastised him, “Don’t come home anymore. I’m not happy to even receive any gifts for the holidays. Don’t put us to shame and just leave right now.” That day was the worst. I didn’t know at that time that it was the beginning of a disaster.
It came not too long after that day. It was close to the end of the year when my husband and I had planned for a quiet dinner somewhere. Since the kids no longer came for the holidays and my husband was busy at work, we decided to celebrate the New Year’s Eve by eating out. However, my husband, who was always punctual like a clock, did not show up at the restaurant for over an hour. I kept calling, but he didn’t answer.
Eventually, I left the restaurant and headed home when I got a call saying it was the hospital. “Are you a family member of Mr. Lawrence Schultz? This is the hospital emergency room. Mr. Schultz fainted on the street from the difficulty of breathing. He’s now in critical condition.” I got a taxi in panic and rushed to the hospital, but my husband had already passed away.
My husband was on his way from work to meet me, and he collapsed, clenching his chest. Because the restaurant was close to his work, he was walking over when it happened. I didn’t know why it happened. I felt empty to know that he only worked till his last moments. As I sat shocked and blankly at the funeral, the kids called me.
My stepdaughter put some documents in front of me and demanded, “Since you live comfortably because of her dad, you shouldn’t be selfish and get greedy on our dad’s assets and just sign them over to us. If you don’t, we won’t let it go.” Both my step-daughter and stepson looked at me as if they would devour me.
I could understand their behavior towards me, but they started fistfights fighting over how they will divide up their father’s assets when their father had just passed away. I wept feeling so sorry for my husband who didn’t know his children were like this. Yet he couldn’t sleep, regretting blowing his top at them.
“I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll do it all, so can’t you just wait a few days? It’s your father. Do you really need to behave this way on his last
day?” I shouted at them, and they glared at me before they left without a word.
I sold all the buildings and donated it to the shelter that provided me work and a place to sleep, and I am now spending the rest of my life at my grandma’s house. Now I’m living on the savings I inherited. I continue to volunteer at the shelter where I met my current husband. The kids still are trying to meet me now and then, but I will never meet them. I plan to donate the rest of the money to the shelter when I die. Until then, I want to live comfortably with my current husband, so I would not face any more misfortune.
I plan to stay alert. Now that I poured my heart out, I feel a lot better, as if a big lump in my heart has melted away. Thank you all for listening to my story. I wish for happiness in your family. Please cheer for me and write your comments of wisdom in the comment section.
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