“Come sit with me BB,” she says. We tried many names, “bonus mom,” “b-mom,” “other mom,” but only “BB” (short for Bahar) made me, a member of the auntie-squad, feel comfortable. So it stuck.
I sit with her.
She is restless.
Because of my own lack of confidence in this new role, I typically take his children’s other-than-perfect behavior personally. We sit on the first step of the carpeted staircase and start doing math homework together. When her younger sister asks me a question, she loses her cool. “Car-e-leigh!” she complains. The added “e” after the “r” indicates frustration.
We move to a quieter space.
When I try to answer her question, she responds, “I don’t get what you are saying,” followed by “No! That’s not how you do it!” She tests my patience when she throws her homework on the floor. I don’t pick up the sheets of paper strewn about the sofa, but I don’t leave either. We finish math. She hands me a writing sample to check. As I’m reviewing it, her father asks her to get ready for dance class. She’s not a fan of activity, yet the tantrum she throws is too extreme for her otherwise peaceful temperament. She trudges to her room in tears.
I have low tolerance for excessive whining or lack of respect for parents and usually ignore it until the child is ready to have a reasonable conversation. Somehow today I’m different. Today is not about self-assumed inadequacies. My feet walk me up the stairs to her room.
I hold her.
It’s the day their mother left for her honeymoon. It’s the week after the wedding. That’s enough to make anyone uneasy, much less a nine-year-old.
She’s not one to share feelings.
Today, she doesn’t have to.
“Stay with me BB.”
Bahar Anooshahr is an Iranian-American writer and speaker who left a career in oral and maxillofacial surgery to follow her passion of storytelling. Her works have been featured in The Austin Chronicle, Creative Nonfiction, Whole Life Times Magazine, and the anthology In The Night Count the Stars among others. She was a keynote speaker in Chicago for Failure: Lab—an international movement showcasing the untold stories of failure behind success.