Tag Archives: Stepfamily

Pieces of my heart

18 Mar

I used to believe that there was no more challenging job on earth than being a mommy. I also believe that there is no job more rewarding. I used to think that nothing could stretch my limitations, test my strength, or ask more of me that being a parent. And then I fell in love. I fell in love with this beautiful, spirited, silly little girl and her daddy. I became a step-parent. And, with that, I realized that being a mommy wasn’t the most challenging thing I would ever do. Being a step parent was.image

My views of parenting were much different that her father’s. My views on discipline were much different from her father’s. Ultimately the decision was his, but I also had a child that was effected by those decisions. We had to work very hard to come to compromises that both of us could be happy with. We had to evaluate everything we thought we knew in the context of our combined family. Both of our children had to go through some changes. We are still learning and it is, and probably always will be, a work in progress.

For Isaiah’s whole life, I had been working with his father to schedule holidays, special events, and visitation times. We had, for the most part, gotten things down to a science. We still have days where all of that is difficult, just not very many. Now there was another parent to schedule things with. There was another set of family members and special events. We now have to schedule holidays with each of our families, plus each of our children’s other parents. I love Christmas, but it certainly gives me a headache now.

Then there are many of the same challenges that each of our children present me with. Am I making the right decisions for them? Am I modeling marriage well enough? Am I teaching them how to be individuals? Am I teaching them to stand up for themselves? Am I showing them how much I love them? Am I being fair? Am I giving them memories they will cherish? Am I fulfilling this call of parenthood the way I’m supposed to? Am I helping to raise little people who will grow up into successful adults?

But then there’s the other side. The part where I love that little girl just like she were my own. The part where I miss her so badly when she’s not with us. The part where it is so important to me that she knows how important she is to our family, even though she’s not with us as much as we would like. The part where I am so thankful to get to watch the sibling relationship develop between her and Isaiah. The irreplaceable laughter and light that she brings to our family. The beauty and magic that she brings to our home.

Until I met her, I never knew what we were missing. She is one of the best parts of my world. I thank God every day that I get the opportunity to love her.

To all of you who are good step-parents – I raise my glass to you for stepping in and choosing to love a child that isn’t your own as if they were.

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A toast to my parents (and a lesson for all of us)

3 Feb

imageThe greatest gift my parents gave me, aside from actually creating me, was the gift of a friendly divorce. I am not a proponent of people staying married just because they have children. I do not think that always makes for a happier childhood for them. I am also not a proponent of getting divorced because marriage is hard. But if you have fought like hell to keep your marriage in tact, and you still can’t, two happy homes is better than one miserable one every day.

My parents got divorced when I was very young. In fact, I don’t remember anything other than two separate homes. I am thankful for that. I don’t remember fighting or yelling or my mom crying or my dad being unhappy. They realized early enough in my life what would be best for all of us and I don’t have those scars.

This is what I do remember:

I remember that during sporting events, or music performances, or academic competitions, my parents could sit next to each other… or not, but it didn’t matter. We didn’t need to have an entire gymnasium, or the Grand Canyon, to separate them so they didn’t try to kill each other.

I remember watching my dad help my mom and stepdad borrow tools for a home renovation. I remember watching my mom and stepdad give my dad a spreader, that they didn’t use anymore and he needed to work on his land.

I remember that, as a child, I never heard anything bad about one parent being said by the other. Never. My dad never talked bad about my mom and my mom did the same. In fact, in a moment of teenage rebellion, I said something not-so-nice about my mom to my dad and got in serious trouble. He demanded my respect of her, despite the fact that he wasn’t the one married to her.

I remember that at my wedding, and at my brother’s, they sat next to each other. They maybe even reminisced a little. They smiled and laughed. They cried. They let the focus be on us.

I remember at the birth of my son. They took turns staying with me. They worked it out together, I was never a part of that conversation. Neither of them wanted me to be alone, so they made it happen. And it did.

I remember at my nephew’s, and my child’s, birthday parties. They talked to each other, each other’s families, and everyone else. They laughed. They joked. There was never an ounce of animosity or stress.

I remember that my stepdad came into this friendly situation and became a part of it. He was part of the laughing and talking and joking, every time. I’ve seen him shake the hand of my father countless times. I’ve seen both of them lay down any petty dislike they could have had towards each other and love my brother and I enough to shake hands anyway.

I remember that my parents had an amazing enough relationship that my younger sister and brother, who were not my dad’s children, were welcome in his home any time. And they were welcome in the home of all of his family as well. They traveled with me, on several occasions, to visit my dad’s side of my family and were welcome with open arms. My parents loved all of us enough to not put limitations on the friendship I have with my siblings.

I remember that when I was expecting my son, and I knew that marrying his father would be the wrong decision for us, I was determined that we would give him the same gift. I know that I didn’t appreciate how difficult that gift was to give until I had lived it. But, his dad is equally determined that he has the best childhood possible, so we work very hard to give him that.

I know that co-parenting is hard. It’s hard within a marriage and it’s hard without one. It’s hard. But my parents, all three of them, gave me the most amazing example of how that should be done. They showed me that loving your children enough to let them love both of their parents is a gift without a price.

So, to my parents, thank you. Thank you for showing us how it should be done. Thank you for being an example to all of us. Thank you for not competing, or undermining. Thank you for teaching us respect and family. Thank you for letting us love the other. Thank you for letting us love you. And I do.

Welcome to Life As I Know It

24 Jan

image

I used to think I would write a book. But I decided that a book would stop eventually. And, as anyone who knows me knows, I have a lot to say.

Let me take a moment to introduce you to my life.

I’m Sara. I am a Christian. I am a wife. I am a mother and a step-mother. I am a teacher. I am a woman. I am a friend. I’m a daughter, a sister, an aunt. I love reading and learning. I love writing. I am opinionated. I tend to be bossy. I talk loud and laugh louder. I’m kind of a dork; but definitely in the fun way. I like to cook. I like to sing and dance when no one is watching. I like people watching and discussions. I like Chai tea and a good movie.

My husband is Kevin. He loves me like no one ever has. He is very different than me. He has had to learn to deal with my emotional ups and downs. But he has learned; and now when I need to cry because of something sad on tv, or a bad day at work, or there was only one line on that damn stick… again, he just lets me cry. And some days he lets me fight. And some days we have so much fun and we never stop laughing. We love going to dinner together. We love bringing dinner home and eating in bed and watching movies. Isaiah was here before him but you wouldn’t know it to watch them together and see how much they love each other. I am so so blessed to have that man.

Isaiah. His life could be a story in itself. He is my miracle baby and one day, when I’m feeling a little stronger, I’ll tell you that story. Today, though, he is a smart, strong, funny, sweet, independent 5 year old. He likes to take his mommy on dates and every once in a while he’ll tell me we’re getting married. He loves cuddling on the couch and watching movies. He loves wrestling and sports and big trucks. He makes me laugh, genuinely laugh, at least once a day. He has blessed my life in more ways than I can ever keep track of. He is my little man and a physical representation of my heart.

Justice is 8. She has been in my life for such a short time but I love her so much. It was no challenge to just bring her into my life and treat her just like she was my own. She has a mommy, who loves her, but I consider myself very fortunate to get to share my heart with her. And I take my part in helping her grow up very seriously.

We also have several pets, I have a huge extended family, and I have some pretty incredible friends. Life is life and it comes with its share of valleys but at the end of the day… Life is beautiful.

So, here I am. Finally, a way to fulfill that part of me that has always been there. My prayer is that this will become a place for me to share my opinions and ramblings, in the hopes that, somehow, I can inspire conversation, laughter, soul searching, and maybe even some change. I’m not jaded…. I’m not going to change the world. But sometimes someone’s opinion can make you take a look at the way you live. And, sometimes, taking a look at the way you live leads you to change the way you live.

So enjoy, comment, laugh, cry. Share with me also. Because, like everyone else, I could sometimes use a long look at the way I live.

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