A friend gave her permission to use the following in my book; however, I wanted to share it in my blog as well. We need to hear the beautiful and successful stories as well as the difficulties and struggles of step-living. Enjoy…I sure did:
“I think the main thing was the love my dad always gave me. (I don’t like to call him stepdad and never did) He was never known that way to me, though I always knew I had a biological father–who my mother communicated to me didn’t want me to be born. Somehow having me didn’t help her first marriage and held her back from fulfilling her dreams–lots of responsibility felt as a toddler. When my mom and “dad” (how I will refer to your term stepdad) got married, I was 2 and I asked why my last name was different and that if I wasn’t a Smith, I wasn’t part of the family–don’t ask me how a 2-yr. old comprehended that, but I did. So, I got to go by Smith and was very happy about that. Later, I legally took the name (at 20) though I’d always gone by Smith and my “dad” was so happy and proud. He never made a difference, at least that I noticed, between my brother and I (and I could never think of my brother as a step) He’s just always been my brother.
These early impressions somehow set me up to be a pleaser much of my life so people would want me around . I had come to believe, at some level, I might not have truly been wanted, so I’d better be a really good girl and do what others told me. It’s taken me most of my life to overcome this, with the Lord’s help, and not allow myself to be dominated by others. It’s also important for parents, be the bio or step, to try not be negative about the other parent as the child picks up on that, even very very young. Because of my mother’s hurt, I only heard negative and rather awful stories about my bio dad and as a little child that came across that I must also have these bad qualities–another reason I must “please” others so they would like and value me.
Another strong memory is of a 4th grade teacher who put both my last names up on the school wall–she had all the kids’ names up and proceeded to call them out (like a roll call) and when my birth name came up and I didn’t respond, she asked me “Didn’t I know?” “Don’t you know who you are?” It was a rather mortifying experience for a 9 year old, but none of the other kids seemed to pay much attention. I was an adult before I even told a friend my “dad” wasn’t my biological dad–He’s always been and always will be my “dad” to me. When I saw my mom on my birthday this year and she asked me what I wanted to do, I said that I wanted to visit “dad’s grave” and put flowers on it. We sat on the grassy hillside and sang the old gospel and family hymns I remembered from growing up. My “dad” was always there to encourage me, believe in me, and always had wise words and common sense advise. He never once raised his voice to me or even got mad at me that I remember, but I was a pretty good kid. His life continues to inspire me to live well.
I believe the good Lord puts “real” parents in children’s lives be they bio or step. It is also in Him we find our value and purpose. Anyway, hope this helps another–that’s what we’re all here for, really, to serve others and glorify Jesus.” –Lil Smith