Step-Parenting (It’s Not For Wimps!)
Author: Rune Fox
Everyone comes about becoming a parent for the first time in different ways. Most have children born to them, while others adopt. No matter what, any woman may have maternal instincts inside her that loves and protects. Perhaps it is the Goddess in all of us.
My children came to me in a most unexpected way. I fell in love. I met Jim at the end of last summer. Having a string of bad relationships, being sexually assaulted, and a bitter broken engagement in the past, I had stayed single for a few years. I gave up all hope of having a life of my own. I met Jim through a blind date. Not expecting much of anything, Jim and I instantly clicked. I know it sounds corny, but I think there was love at first sight. It just so happens that Jim is a divorced father with primary custody.
Now, I’m blessed to have two beautiful children in my life, along with my soulmate, Jim. They are my stepdaughter Ariel, who is 9 and a half, and my stepson Taylor, who is 13.
Having been previously single with no children of my own before, I’d say my new family has adjusted well. I love my stepchildren as if they were my own flesh and blood, and they return their love to me and have accepted me as a parent figure. A person could not ask for more wonderful stepchildren. They really are a dream come true!
The only problem is that Jim’s ex-wife hates me so much, she would speak ill about me around the children. I just don’t understand why she hates me, without even knowing me. She is a so-called “Born -again Christian”. Bear in mind, I have many Christian friends whom I love dearly, so I know full well that hate is NOT a Christian trait. (Or at least it shouldn’t be!)
The biological mother treats the children as if they were her possessions, not as human beings. She has anger management issues, and was court-ordered to seek help. She failed to do so, and does everything she can to make life a living nightmare for everyone involved. There are the unfortunate pawns in her childish games.
It would be nice if someday, Jim’s ex-wife will wake up and realize that she is not doing herself or her children any favors by being hateful. I am really not trying to say that I’m better than her, or that she has no place in their lives at all. That fact remains that she is their birth mother. Nothing will ever change that fact. Removing her from their lives completely would probably do more harm than good to the children, even if it would make life easier for Jim and I.
Jim and I try to be the voice of reason in the children’s lives. Hey, we may not be perfect, but at least we’re stable. Ariel seems to be most bothered by her mother’s hurtful behavior the most. I try to assure her that it doesn’t bother me. After all, I am a U.S. Army veteran, having served in Iraq. There isn’t much that will shake MY tree!
It does hurt me to see Ariel become someone else when she has tantrum-like trances out of frustration. After she comes out of them, she is very apologetic and embarrassed. All I can do is hold her while she cries while she cools down.
Both of the children are in counseling. However, while their mother is in the picture, they don’t seem to be making much progress. I have to remind myself that it is a long, painful process, and all I can do is be patient.
I’d be lying if tell you that I haven’t thought to myself “why am I here? Life was sooooo much simpler on my own! Why not just walk away from it all?
I just can’t walk away, because those kids need me, and I need them. They are what make life worth living! When Ariel looks up at me, smiles, and says “I want to be just like you when I grow up!” and then gives me a huge hug. We go for walks in the woods and build fairy houses.
Taylor is an extremely bright young man who tends to take in frustration rather than act it out. He his smarter than many adults I know. Even so, he is on the way to failing the seventh grade. It breaks my heart when he calls himself stupid.
Even though it is well known that teenagers can be difficult to relate to, Taylor will become bubbly and silly. He will often ask me to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons with him, or ask to go on a hike or go surfing with me. Of course, I think it is just wonderful, because it gets him away from the computer, video games, and television.
I’m sure you’ve heard that saying “It takes a real man to be a father!” The same holds true for motherhood.
I have not yet experienced the joy of being pregnant or the pain of giving birth. I watch women and have been there when some of my friends have enjoyed being pregnant. Even though it sounds terrible, I just couldn’t help but feel envious! Life is itself is such a gift. How wonderful it must be to give life?
Having traveled around the world and seeing the worst that human nature has to offer, I have seen my share of pain, in others and myself. I was once a victim of rape. Needless to say, I had trust issues with men for a long time, as well as people in general. This is probably why I stayed single for quite some time. Now, I’m not looking for pity. Somehow, through professional help and personal strength, I am now a more wary individual. I still believe everything happens for a reason.
Jim and I have decided to try for a child between the both of us. Ariel has already “put in her order for a baby sister.” Now, if that’s not cute, I don’t know what is! We may allow Taylor and Ariel help name the child, once we know when or if we become blessed with another. I will make it very clear form the start that I will always love both them just as much a new baby.
Being a stepmother has prepared me for the next step, if it comes. It has healed my spirit and gave me the strength to take whatever life has to dish out. I am prepared to give my life to my stepchildren, if anyone dares to try hurting them.
There is no love like the love for a child. It is love in its purist form, no matter where it comes from.