We’ve all had our tough times with our stepkids, haven’t we, ladies? I remember some really tough patches with my eldest especially. She was at that textbook-rough adolescent time in life when her parents divorced, then her dad met me, her world was upside down, and the last thing she needed was some stepmom she never asked for. And let me tell you…she let me know. Often. Life is rough enough with one’s own biological teenagers. Try it with a step-teenager! One of my favorite memories was going to NYC with her. I had the privilege of taking her to her first ever Broadway play (and she is a drama nut, so this was a big deal). I will treasure that evening. But, during the rest of the trip we had our difficult moments (e.g. “Do we have to keep walking through this darn park?” yes, um, it’s Central Park…most people would die for this experience). Well, one day we were in a drug store buying whatever we had forgotten to pack. I stepped away for a moment, leaving her in the checkout line. And a big city New Yorker cut in line, practically pushed my stepkid aside, and butted in line in front of her. I remember the look on her face. She wasn’t sure what to do, she looked hurt and confused. I didn’t have my own biological kids at the time…but inside me, something surged! I needed to protect that child. I promptly ran over and told that person that my kid was next. And we stepped in front of him in line. Look, she might be difficult at times (aren’t we all), she might be negative toward me, she might reject me, she might dismiss me…but she is MY negative, rejecting, dismissive, tough kid. Not that New Yorkers’ kid. So, watch out…even a stepmom without kids of her own can have a Mama Bear inside her. This is when I realized my bond with my kids. I didn’t know I had a Mama Bear! I realized that my bond with my stepkids was not contingent on them reciprocating. This Step-Mama Bear was going to love them, protect them and care for them.
I Corinthians 13:7-8 (NIV) talks about love: “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Today I am thankful that God showed me how to love and protect people that are not my own, and how to trust in Him in this stepmom journey.
What are you thankful for today?
p.s. I have lots of amazing “big city New Yorker” friends, so no slam intended there!
p.p.s. I am happy to report the toughness of adolescent stepkids can morph into a beautiful relationship with time, maturity, consistency and God’s hand in the mix.