My parents split in a very dramatic way and my father was single for about a year before he met my step-mother Trish. She was 12 years younger than him so it was kind of odd at first having a mother figure so close in age. They dated for a brief period of time and got married at the nearby Methodist Church. It was kind of a big brew haha because she's Catholic and he was a divorcee. Her parents grew to love my father though and things smoothed out with time.
She lived with us in our Raytown home but to keep up appearances for her devoutly religious family she rented an apartment nearby although she was almost never there. Very quickly she became an integral part of our small family. As a young man who had gotten accustom to living alone with his father I was a little jealous of all the attention she got over me. Trish was a smoker like my dad and almost always took his side in disagreements (even when I felt she didn't really agree with him) but otherwise I liked her.
My dad tried very early on to get me to call her "mom" but seeing as how she was in her early 20s and well... not my mom I resisted. He kept at it and I eventually caved to keep the peace. In all honesty she was a way better parental role than my biological mother. We fought from time to time and as a teenager in the heat of a moment I once asked her "who died and made you queen B*%^$ of the world?" That did not end well for me.
My first real vacation involved her and I heading to California ahead of my father (who had to stay and work longer). It was a big leap seeing as I hadn't known her terribly long at the time. My father either knew her long before he let on or came to trust her very quickly. She was the youngest of 7 and was a black belt in Taw Kwon Do so despite her small frame she knew how to take care of herself and didn't take crap off of anyone (except my father).
Over the years she became just as significant of a role in my life (good and bad) as my father did. I came to consider her my mother and still call her mom to this day. Although we've worked at the same place for more than 20 years I almost never cross paths with her. When my father passed away an already strained relationship kind of faded away. She sold his company and many of his belongings that were promised to me citing the will my father always talked about never really existed so they were hers to do with as she pleased. I've tried to reconnect with her a few times over the years but it never really lasts.
Today in an effort to be a good son I reached out and invited her to lunch. To my surprise she said yes without hesitation. We caught up on the kids, Ana, my half-sister Katie and briefly dipped into politics before realizing that was too far (we do not see eye to eye there). All in all though it was a pretty polite exchange and she ended saying, "we should do this again". Who knows what the future holds there.