I became a stepdaughter at the age of five. Since I don't remember my parents being married to each other I was never the kid that longed for a reconciliation. Yes there were times I wondered what it might be like. And there were times when I resented having to do the every other weekend bit. However I didn't know any differently than having two homes and two families.
The same year that my dad remarried, my mom did as well. Suddenly I had two new families. At my mom's (where I spent all of my time, other than every other weekend and alternating holidays) I had my brother (who shares both biological parents with myself), a brand new baby brother (technically a half brother- but its a term I've never felt comfortable with), two stepsisters, a stepbrother and of course the man my mother married- my new stepfather. In this family suddenly I wasn't only a daughter and a sister- I was also a stepdaughter and a stepsister. My second family (of the every other weekend variety) was my dad's- which included my brother (whom I listed earlier), a brand new baby sister (again, technically a "half") and my dad's new wife. My stepmother. Again in this family I held the title of stepdaughter. And that title was profoundly different than any other in my life. In my mother's home I never felt the word "step" in a way that applied to me. Yes I had a stepdad. Yes I was a stepdaughter (and sister). But I was still my mother's daughter and essentially my place in the world hadn't changed. However in my dad's home I was actively aware of the title of "step" and the weight of the word completely impacted my feelings of worth in the family.
I don't have many memories of my first stepfather. My mom's relationship with him didn't last long. The memories I have of him are, for lack of a better word, indifferent. He didn't make any impact on my life to speak of one way or the other. However because of him I have an amazing little brother and for that I can be grateful.
As for my dad's marriage- that one lasted seventeen years. Resulting in plenty of memories- good, bad and ugly. I can only hope that the roller coaster my family went through during that time will be the experiences I can draw upon to ensure that as an adult my relationships with people are grounded. While problems will undoubtedly arise (as they do in any relationship) I hope I can always remember to "step with care".