Monday, 11 February 2013

My sister - The Wicked Stepmother

My sister - The Wicked Stepmother
11 February 2013

My sister – The Wicked Stepmother.  Who would have thought?  Though truth be told, she doesn’t have too many of the distinguishing stepmother features. 

She didn’t “capture” the children’s father with her cunning feminine wiles.  She has no horrible twisty long nails, warts or moles sprouting hair either.  And to date, she hasn’t tried, not even once, to send any of her post-marriage acquired kids to live in a boarding school far, far away.

In fact, she’s pretty much a failed stepmother in the horrid and wicked stakes.  She doesn’t make them slave away doing all of her housework.  Nor does she lock them in their rooms at night.  She doesn’t make them cook.  Or dress them in rags.  No daily lashing are metered out.  And to the best of my knowledge, she doesn’t feed them slop and old dry bread, while she dines on steak herself.  But perhaps most telling of all, she has never plotted to off them in a violent “accidental” manner either.

When my dear beloved sister, and her Robin became a couple, she was just twenty years old, to his nearly forty one.  And when she bagged him for herself, she got a delightful bonus to boot.  Three beautiful, gorgeous, lovely children.  Little Alex was just four.  Cory was six.  And the magnificent Kati was ten.  A mere ten years younger than Katrine herself.  And did Katrine shy away from the baggage and the responsibility?  Even once?  Not even maybe.  She embraced it and rose to the challenge.  She loves them like her own, even calling them her kids.  And in return, they utterly adore her.

Robin said that the kids fell in love with Katrine, the very instant they met her.  And nothing has changed ever since.  She’s fun and she’s funny.  She’s loving and caring.  She’s accepting.  They could not be more her kids than if she’d given birth to them herself.  In fact, Alex and Cory made a choice to live with Katrine and Robin a few years ago and moved to the UK to do just that.  That in itself is a huge testament to the love they have for her.  I suppose their dad’s pretty okay too.  She’s very involved with their schooling, their hobbies and their friends.  Extremely hands on.  She is a natural home maker who makes all feel welcome, special and loved.  She's patient and kind.  She listens to them and makes them feel important and cared for.  Like they're valued and appreciated.  And the love and attention she has bestowed upon them has been returned to her a million fold.

At 23 Kati is forging her own path in the world.  She got her degree in Linguistics and Journalism from Rhodes and is a very, very fine and talented writer.  And a lovely person to boot.  She features regularly in a variety of publications – magazines, internet websites, etc.  Like her father, she has a passion for exploring the world.  The travel bug bit her as just a wee little lass, and to date she has gone as far as India, the UK, and Africa at length, to name but a few.  Kati and Katrine have a very special relationship.  They’re almost more like sisters and incredibly good friends.  Extremely close and in tune with each other.  And Kati’s mom Margo is a fantastic and wonderful lady.  And thus the first Mrs Auld and the third Mrs Auld get on swimmingly together.  In fact, on one particular occasion, the 1st Mrs Auld, loaned the 3rd Mrs Auld her car, so that the 3rd Mrs Auld could take the 1st Mrs Auld’s daughter with Mr Auld as well as the 1st Mrs Auld’s son with the 2nd Mr (er, Margo), to visit our mother, the 3rd Mrs Auld’s mother at her home in Tulbagh called Muisnes.  Oh and did I mention that the 3rd Mrs Auld also brought along the 2nd Mrs Auld's two children with Mr Auld too?  Not that Mr Auld came along for the family visit mind you.  He was overseas at the time.  Confused yet?  Such a pity if you’re not.  Suffice it to say, that everyone gets along exceptionally well.

Alex and Cory have a slightly more complex relationship with their own mother.  She loves them, yet it is better for the kids to live with Katrine and Robin.  It is a more stable and secure environment.  And everyone is comfortable and happy with this situation.

As the dubious owner of a teenager myself, I fully appreciate that parenting one is a thankless and hard task.  They’re so terribly self-involved and have an over developed sense of entitlement about them.  Yet Katrine manages perfectly fine, with two in the home.  At eighteen years old, Cory is in his final year at High School now and writes his GCSE’s in June/July.  And then his schooling is finished.  He has a fabulous circle of friends, and all of them are absolutely roller-blade mad.  It is the focus of his life and his greatest hobby.  And within blocks of their home in the UK, there are two separate skate parks.  With half pipes and who knows what else.  His greatest joy.  He is an exceptionally bright kid and is brilliant at Maths, Science, etc.  In fact, anything he puts his mind to.  He simply loves cooking and enjoys preparing meals for the family.  To earn a bit of pocket money, he used to work at the local chippie shop, specialising in traditional British fair – Fish and Chips.  And how he earns some dosh, at the Thai place up the road.  A nice, perfectly normal, teenage boy.

At sixteen, Alex is in the very thick of teenager-dom.  A very, very awkward age to be at.  Yet she accepts Katrine’s authority and the boundaries she sets.  Katrine takes exceptional care to treat Alex as the young lady she is becoming.  They enjoy spending time together and love each other’s company.  Alex is animal mad and thus works at the local animal shelter/vet.  Something Robin and Katrine have encouraged her to do.  It is not the most glamorous of jobs for a teenager to have, yet Alex simply rolls up her sleeves and gets stuck in.  Mopping up stalls and the lot.  And to further illustrate what a lovely young girl our Alexie is, she is sharing a room with her six year old sister, Honey.  Can you just imagine!  Six year olds are rather intense, but Alex is accepting and understanding.  Patient and very sweet with little Honey, who simply idolises her big sister.

Both Cory and Alex are brilliant when it comes to entertaining Honey and keeping her occupied.  They’re also perfectly capable of running her through the bath, cooking supper, supervising homework and scooting her off to bed, on the odd occasion when Katrine has to work a late shift at work and Robin is away.  Incredible!

I will never forget going away for a weekend to Kleinbaai, when Katrine and Robin had just started dating.  We went over the Easter Holidays.  At that stage Alex was 4, Cory was 6 and Kati was 10.  My Luke was just two and half.  Amber and Cole not even born yet.  Over Easter time, the weather starts changing and the evenings get very nippy.  The days too.  We were all in the sitting room, just relaxing, when my 20 year old sister piped up “Alex, my lovie, it’s getting quite cold.  I think you should put a sweater on.  You too Mister.”  I felt like I had an out of body experience and nearly got whiplash I jerked my head around so quickly to just gawk at her.  And just like that, in the blink of an eye, I realised that she was a mother.  Instantly.  Robin and Katrine weren’t even married yet.  And wouldn’t be for a few years more.  Yet, she cared enough about the kids and their wellbeing to step up to the plate.  It impressed me immensely and still does to this day.  You see, in my family, I’m the eldest and the obvious responsible one.  And all of the sudden the tables had turned.  And it is so still today.  I now find myself in a position, where I ask my sister who is younger than me by nearly seven years, for advice on my teenager.  She’s partially helped to raise three.

I salute her for all she has done for her bonus children.  For her good fortune in having such lovely kids in her life.  And their good fortune for having her.

Katrine, Robin and their kids on their wedding day
One big happy family
These family pics were taken in January 2010 when they came to SA for a lovely visit
 I love it - just look how happy they all are - btw, they're not acting
A beautiful family
Four children - three different moms, yet they all think of each other as 100% blood.  There simply is never any talk of half brother or half sister, nor stepmother either.  They're just a family.  All belonging together.
Their farewell before leaving for the UK, in July 2008.  Sadly Kati was not there.
All six Aulds together - Kati visiting the UK, Melton Mowbray to be exact
The Auld family - too lovely
This one I simply had to include for fun.  Alex and Honey, receiving a bit of spa treatment from Katrine - nutritious snack included.


  1. So proud of you Katrine!! Seems its a win win set up all round - where everyone is a lucky fish!! And I got real lucky to have you as my Goddaughter!!

  2. Oh H, this is excellent. Kat is a star - I ask her for stepmom advice too!
    She has grown many hearts! Magnificently written. You see the good in everyone.