Return from vacation

I’ve been travelling. The week before Labor Day, I spent some time at the Minnesota State Fair with my 16 yr old grand-daughter, our 11th annual trip. We then went on to see my son (her dad), his wife (her stepmom), and my grandson (her half-brother). We stayed and visited and had a great time.  I was there for three days, she stayed another day and my son and her mom worked out the details of meeting to get her back home.  I was home for a few hours and then turned around and flew half-way across the country with my husband to visit with his adult daughter (my step-daughter)and her boyfriend. I reflect this morning as I type this how intricate and full of explanation I need to be in order to present the right picture to you. The time spent with both visits was a mixture of anticipation and love, as well as added doses of intimidation and stress.  I find myself monitoring my conversations for anything that might be misunderstood, misconstrued…thinking deliberately before speaking, all the while wondering if what I just said whether in serious context or being humorous… stepped on somebody’s emotional toes. It’s really very different in this stepliving life.  Within a biological family, everyone is aware of the ebb and flow of each other’s dynamics. From birth, we enter into each other’s personalities, flaws, habits, gifts, and “the way we are”, so that there are no surprises. Forgiveness is meted out regularly and without much fanfare, since we know “the way we/they are”. Siblings grow up and I’ve witnessed in many families the sad estrangement that can happen within biological families. People do change. However, within stepfamilies, there are years of unknowns. Some normal questions one might have: “What were they like before, have they always been like this, why do they take everything I do and say the wrong way, why do I feel I have to walk on pins and needles, do they like me?” And the list goes on and on for those entering and living in stepfamilies. Although it can be stressful, I’ve also embraced the additional love and relationships that stepfamilies bring. We all have choices to make…for years I let things bother me and I walked on tons of pins and needles…but not so much anymore. God and age have pruned a lot of my personal habits, reactions, and worries away. I will never be a perfect person in any of the roles I have, and I do not wish to be, learning can be so much fun. Uhhhhh, sure. But focusing on God and the type of legacy I wish to leave as footprints in people’s minds and hearts is the path I have chosen to walk. I still feel stress and intimidation, however, I don’t take things as personally as I used to…and that is one huge good component to have in a stepfamily. God bless your day!   -dori:)

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