That is the one phrase I use more than any other to answer nearly every question thrown my way. And it makes me nuts. If there is one thing I hate, it's "complicated"-- and there is no way to stepparent without gobs of complication.
Even basic questions have complex answers requiring endless exposition and backstory to explain custody schedules, latest compromises, and current negotiating climate.
I ambushed my poor sister the other day, who innocently asked if I thought the kids might be interested in taking an art workshop over our brief vacation in CO this summer.
"Well, it's complicated," I say.
"See, I'm not sure how long we'll be there. I know when we're arriving, but I'm not sure when the girls fly out with Dan because Miss L's mom says her husband's family is having a reunion in Oklahoma right at those dates. But we only have two weeks where all four of us overlap this summer, because I start work July 1 but Miss G is at the lake with her dad's folks till June 22 and then she's with her dad August 3rd till school starts and Miss L gets 10 days with her mom sometime in there so we're working things out with this new parent coordinator but we haven't gotten hard dates for sure yet so I'll have to--"
My sister starts laughing and I interrupt myself saying "I know, it's ridiculous, I'm so sorry. Even an easy question is like a 20 minute response."
She says, "No, no, it's fine! Actually I was just thinking... I am just in awe. I don't know how you do it."
I think about it a minute. There's only one answer.
"Well. It's complicated."