Where are you? Literally? Figuratively? Here? There? Near? Far? Close? Lost? Stuck? I’m not trying to imitate Dr. Seuss, but he uses fantastic vocabulary and imagery, wouldn’t you agree? More specifically, where are you in your relationships? Honest? Deep? Close? Distant? Broken? Superficial? Hurt? Guarded? Open? We all have relationships, some by default and some by intention. Interestingly, we often act differently with different people who play different roles in different seasons of our lives. But for the most part, you could define where you stand with each of them at any given time.
Last layer. Here’s the question I’ve been grappling with for quite some time. Where do I stand in my relationship with my stepchild? With your own biological children, there is an ease to the relationship that flows and grows through the years with attention and the investment of time. Conversely, what about those step-children, whose early years you more than likely missed out on and who have multiple parents with whom they interact? That one you feel like you’re always playing catch up with? Fifty percent of us have them, whether they live with us full time or visit us on certain weekends and holidays. You are by definition, the step-parent. They are by definition, the step-children. Not the first, not the biological, but the stand in, the second, the understudy, if you will. Sometimes welcomed, often not.
So where do you STAND? When do you take a stand? Does this stand have meaning? Peter Marshall the U.S. Senate Chaplain stated, “Unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” I have been a step-mom to my step-daughter for 12 years (of her 14 years) and her custodial step-mom for almost 10 years. I had the benefit of being involved in her life in varying degrees since her first birthday. But I sit here in front of my computer today and tell you in all honesty, I do not know where I stand in her eyes or in her life. Some days this fact can be insignificant and other days it can be devastating. Technology Man says I’m crazy, that she loves me and appreciates all I do. How exactly does he know that? She is a tough one to read, doesn’t easily share emotions, and is guarded with me due to the intense conflict her biological mother creates between us. I can’t ask her to love me. I don’t ask her to let me be her “mom”. But I do take my role as step-parent seriously, and come what may, I will parent her day in and day out the best I can because ultimately I am doing so since it is where God has placed us, for the last ten years and the next four. That’s my stand. I’m taking it.
How is your relationship with your step-kids? Where do you STAND?