Stuck-ness of Step Parenting

Parenting is both a blessing and a curse. Those who want children are sometimes denied that desire, and those who have children can occassionally overlook that they have been given a miracle. To those of us who have been praying for the exact blessing that many take for granted, it… well, it just pisses us off!

Every trip to Walmart is a painful reminder of a smattering of parents who clearly do not view their role as a blessing. I am fully aware that every moment as a parent is not sunshine and rainbows, but it also shouldn’t be accompanied by unkind words and berating topped off with glimpses of indifference. Those little souls are craving love, guidance, and boundaries – not Kool Aid and candy bars – and in my experience, those things are rarely evident in the far too narrow aisles of any super store. And when what you are craving is to see that others actually embrace their children as the ultimate gifts that they are… it’s not so super.

So as I wollow in the pity and pain that I am not a Mom, I try to take solice in the blessing of my step-sons. Then Mother’s Day this past year rolls around like it does every year and despite my involvement in their lives for 20 years… my phone did not ring and the only acknowledgement of my giving spirit came from my husband and my sweet pup. I am the best doggy mommy I can be, but in that moment I believed that I had clearly failed as a step-mom. My inability to cultivate a positive relationship over two decades was perhaps the ultimate sign to step down, step away, and step on with my life.

I had been stuck. Stuck between my efforts to nurture and guide them and the disappointment of their actions. Stuck between my desire to be important and relevant in their lives and the realization that I am insignificant. Stuck between the sacrifices I have made for them that will never be acknowledged and the still longing hope that someday things will change. Stuck between my expectations and what I actually experience. Just stuck. And in my stuck-ness, my internal pity party was raving on.

It was time to take a few steps in the right direction, and I have been slowly doing just that. The first step has been for me to consciously be kinder to myself. If I can’t forgive myself, then who else could? And on my path toward forgiveness of my seemingly failed relationships, I am finding a stronger relationship with God. Who else could I possibly, should I possibly turn to, than the King of forgiveness. But these steps have not been easy and I am noticing that each day, every thought, even the smallest moments have significance in my journey. Step by step, I am getting there.

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