Today I seem caught in a wierd place, like between the frustration and the payoff. I’m a stepmom, but I have a LOT of responsibilities with my stepkids. It’s more like being a nanny, or part-time mom. I take them to school 3-4 times a week (youngest is not a morning person, so she makes sure no one else is either), I pick them up from school 2-3 times a week (and listen to all of their daily experienes simultaneously). I drive them to meetings, to the store for random crap they remember they ran out of at 8pm, to church when thier dad is out of town and wherever else they may need to go. I sacrifice personal time, finances and sanity in general (see the “I’m going crazy, who’s driving” post for clarity there). I have stepped up in ways I didn’t originally anticipate, and even took a part time job to be more available to do more driving, and keeping up our visitation schedule when my husband is on business trips. I get frustrated not knowing what my role is, feeling like I have two jobs, and the transition to “instant parent” is much longer and more painful than anticipated (I think ALL step-parents can agree on that one).
So here comes the payoff: things have not always been smooth between the 4 of us. The middle child has always wanted to let me know I wasn’t going to replace her mom, and it’s made things complicated with our communication. The oldest has found the older sister she’s always needed in me, and the youngest, well she needs a lot. I do what I can with her. The oldest is graduating from 8th grade, and her dad will be on a business trip. She immediately said “well Jessie can still go, right?”. I was dropping her off at her mom’s house later that night, and the other 2 were on the porch and shouted “Jessie!” and came running out to the car. They wanted to show me a school project they were working on. There it is folks, you have to look for the little things.
When you kick your own butt trying to take care of everyone around you, it’s rough. It seems like there is no way anyone can thank you, and it seems like they never will. Sometimes it’s like you’re on the outside, like you’re the hired help while everyone else gets to enjoy themselves and each other. But just wait, there will come a time where they will want to share something with you. It may be something that seems like it’s not a big deal, but pay attention. If it is something they are proud of, they are wanting you to be part of thier world, part of who they are. That’s all a child knows. If they share that with you, then no matter how much they may argue or drive you crazy or make a mess, they really love you. And that also means they know you work hard because you love them. Trust the little things, they really are a big deal. And usually, little things are all the little people have.