Recently, my husband and I along with our three boys attended a play at the local high school where our oldest is a student. After we paid for our tickets and were walking into the auditorium, a friend said to our son, “You look like your mom.”

“I do?” he said, laughing under his breath.

“Oh yeah,” the girl said, handing us our programs.

“Were they talking about me?” I asked my husband as we made our way down the aisle toward our seats.

“I think so,” he said, smiling. The truth is, our son actually does look a lot like his mom. But she didn’t happen to be there that night. I’m his step-mom, and it was our first case of mistaken identity.

Having grown up in a stepfamily myself—my parents divorced when I was eleven and both later remarried—I often wondered whether I might one day be a stepmom. What seemed like a remote possibility when I was 23 became a real likelihood the longer I remained unmarried. When I turned 40 and was still single, I knew if I were ever going to marry, chances were I would become a stepmom in the arrangement. Since I was not able to have children of my own, I embraced the idea.