Wednesday , June 19 2024

Stepparenting: Not Quite a Parent

In some regards I am quite lucky in my role as stepmother to my two stepchildren. They are genuinely nice people and we have come to a relatively basic understanding of each other, but as new territory is crossed, the basic understanding must be retooled.

My stepdaughter Kristen starts college this week and gave us a call to let us know she finally has a room to stay in and her classes scheduled. It was kind of a tumultuous summer with her and now that she is gone I feel sad that we just didn’t get enough time to spend with each other.

I had wanted to take her shopping for things she needed to start college off right, but lack of time and money put that on hold. I wish we could have done more and now it’s too late. She is a sweet girl, but still on the border of adult-hood and teenage self-absorption. I know she will grow out it, almost everyone does, but the closer they get to being these amazing individuals, the deeper the disappointment when they make a mistake.

I have faith in her and my last warnings I passed on as her father was hanging up were “Don’t let anyone slip anything into your drink and keep track of your valuables!” Not sure why those things crept into my mind, but I just don’t want her to be taken advantage of. As though I can keep that from happening.

My stepson Chris turned 16 at the beginning of summer and finally got his driver’s license. He is also a smart kid, who is typically good natured. He and I have rarely had any conflict in the eight years I have been a part of his life, but we are also very similar in personality. We WANT to get a long with everyone and keep things smooth, but sometimes our emotions take over and we blow a gasket. Sadly, he is probably better at handling his emotions than I am.

For some reason, I feel much more protective of him than I did Kristen. I am sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that he actually lives with us, whereas Kristen lived with her mom and visited us on the weekends. I just feel like boys need a female keeping an eye on them and looking out for them on a regular basis, and he is so sweet I don’t want any GIRLS taking advantage of his good nature. I would sure hate to have to lay a smackdown on a young mind like that. Get it girls? Good.

So on top of all the pregnancy woes and parenting woes I enjoy with Lily and the “yet to be named”, I try my best to keep these two souls in my heart and mind, as they are so special too.

It’s hard not being their mom, I can’t yell when I think I should, I can’t hug them as often as I would like. I am just sort of this adult friend who has all the roles of mom, but not the ultimate ability to connect with them. It is a test of my maturity sometimes, and I don’t always pass.

I hope someday, when they are both the successful and happy individuals that I have faith in them to be, that I will have had some smidgen of a role in that success and they are comfortable enough with my love for them to let me know.

In some ways, that would be the greatest reward ever.

About Dawn Olsen

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