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Friday, October 9, 2009


I sat down at the computer this afternoon while my littles were sleeping. The only noise to be heard was my cider scented WoodWick candle burning.

I stared out the window. Sighed.

I have been thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking. About lots and lots of things.

And in certain moments drawing a big old blank when it came to something meaningful to share on this here blog.

There is a fly in our house and it flew past the screen and up towards the wall and I glanced upwards. In a frame there sits my first published piece. Written three years ago. When was the last time I've read it?

Probably three years ago?

I read the words and was overcome with the fact and the pieces that there was a beginning. A beginning in my blended/step family adventure and also in my published writing.

What seems like such a long time ago. On both counts.

Many know that my goal, my wish, my neverending dream is to write. And I've been given opportunities galore to do it. Newspaper and other publication stories, outside blog opportunities, a book contribution. There hasn't been much I have turned down.

But high on my list of things to do is to write my book. Many days it is far in the back of my mind. It is easy to make excuses about lack of time, being tired and sometimes just plain uninterested, but today, looking up and seeing that first piece, where the light of my passion of writing was ignited, gave me the hope and the fuel to continue on.

For old time's sake today, here is that first piece, from July 2006.

Personally: Reflections from a young stepmother

Just four days short of turning 5, M asked me a profound question; "Do you love my mom?"

I hesitated, not sure how to answer.

That's because M is my stepdaughter. I've known her since she was just shy of 2. I've been part of her day-to-day stuff, the big and the mundane. So, when she asked me if I loved her mom, I had to think a minute. I recalled the moments of anger, frustration, jealousy. The arguments, misunderstandings and miscommunications.

I thought about Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon in the movie, "Stepmom."

Child: "Mommy?"

Mom: "What, sweetie?"

Child: "If you want me to hate her, I will."

But I also thought about the joy that M and her brother, T, bring to my life, and to their mother's life; the smiles, the laughter, the jokes exchanged.

Finally, I turned to her and said, "Yes, I do love your mom, because she is your mom."

Their mom and I share a delicate relationship. We are polite, reserved, yet cordial. We step gracefully around each other so as to not offend.

She respects me for loving the kids and helping to raise them. I respect her for being their mom and for "sharing" them with me.

We both have come to an unspoken understanding over time.

I was a young, naive college student when I met my future husband, J. It happened unexpectedly. He was upfront and honest with me. He was divorced with two very young children. I immediately thought, "This is not going to work." But as time went on, I grew to love not only him, but his children, too.

T took to me immediately, excited to have a new "friend." T and I have always had a steady relationship, with normal kid stuff along the way. M was more reserved, unsure of whom I was to be in her life. When with her dad and me, she clung to him. When her mom and I were in the same room, she became a chameleon. Already, she had divided loyalties. It was amazing to me that someone this young was trying to figure out, "How do you love both your mom and your stepmom without hurting one or the other?"

Then, in April, our son, H, was born. Placed in his bouncy seat, he started to fuss. Mwalked up to him, and asked, "Do you miss your mom?" I immediately walked into the room, not wanting her confusing my newborn son (who I'm sure had full comprehension of the conversation!).

"I am H's mom," I said.

"Then, who is his stepmom?"

I told her that H would never have a stepmom.

She looked at H. "That's too bad, H," she said.

I was thankful that, at least for now, she views having a stepmom as a "good thing." I know it won't always be true.

"Someday, I want to go have pizza with you and Dad and Mom and T and H. All of us together. Please tell me we can do that someday."

I am not a child psychologist, a therapist, a teacher or a doctor. My experiences are based simply on my own life, a life I never planned. Little girls don't grow up dreaming about getting a ring and an instant family at once. The Cinderella fantasy never involves diaper duty. Or children shuffled from one home to another, sometimes resenting one parent or the other, or both.
But many women are walking down the aisle today into the arms of stepchildren. Some days will be grueling and painful. Many more will be joyful, if they let it be.

When I was pregnant with H, I explained to T and M that a baby was growing in my tummy. It would be their brother or sister. One week, after returning from their mom's house, M proudly told me that she had grown in her mom's tummy. I smiled, glad she understood that.

Then she looked at me and said, "I grew in my mom's tummy, but I grew in your heart."

Originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune July 21, 2006


Blogger Rodman Life said...

S, I love this! I've read the one on your wall too.. kids can be so smart at time and that last line is probably one of the sweetest things I've ever heard a kid say.
You really are blessed! Our God is so great!

October 9, 2009 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger GMS said...

October 9, 2009 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Jon, Sara, Tyler, and Sophie said...

You always have such a wonderful way with words! I loved reading that piece years ago, and again today. Thanks for sharing.

Oh, and when you get a book deal (because I have full faith that one day you will), I would like my copy autographed! :-)

October 9, 2009 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Samara - I love your writing style. When you do your first book tour you must stop in St. Louis and appear on my morning show. Your writing is beautiful!

October 11, 2009 at 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what are you waiting for?? You have already started writing your book..
When I read your blog sometimes I get goose bumps, cry, laugh,or simply just feel good. I feel closer to you everyday.
Your writing touches my heart. So when you do get your book deal I'll be more then happy to travel with you! Let the World know how PROUD of you I am..
I Love You
Auntie Laurie

October 12, 2009 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Have you considered finding a mentor or taking an online writing class to help you hone your craft as you embark on this dream? It might provide you both the challenges and encouragement you need to get your book off the ground!

October 12, 2009 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

I loved the post! What a great reflection. You are so inspiring and a wonderful writer. I think you should fully embark on the journey of becoming a published author. I know for sure you would have many people in line to purchase the being one of them :)

October 13, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Julia said...

I'm new to your blog and want to thank you for sharing your story. I recently married into an instant family and have 2 wonderful stepkids. Sometimes I struggle, and I appreciate the glimpses into another blended family. Thank you.

October 13, 2009 at 10:17 PM  

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