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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

Come April, I'll have been at this gig six years.

The wife thing, that's been fairly easy. I love J, he loves me. Life is good.

The blended family thing, oh, how it ebbs and it flows. Not the love part. There's love. So much of it it's overwhelming at times.

So naive was I as we stood in front of the congregation saying "I do." And don't read that the wrong way, I'd do it all over again, knowing everything I know now.

I feel as though when I started this stepmom thing I was at the bottom of a mountain, climbing upwards.

Two steps forward, one step back.

We did a birthday party together. Two steps forward.

Scheduling/school registration issues. One step back.

And so on until we got to where we were going.

Fast forward to two years ago, and we were at the top of that mountain, breathing in the mountain air. And it felt so good.

Prideful was I, that if we can do it, anyone can.

We get along. For the kids. For each other.

We're working together. Trucking along.

Look at us, we told the world.

Issues were few and we beamed. We laughed at the history and old issues that once wrecked havoc on our daily lives.

For we, we were bigger than all of that.

And we still are, aren't we?

I have prided myself on the fact that we, this blended extended family thing we have going on, is different. We are not another high mainenance, high conflict family in the throes of day to day struggle. I don't want us to be ordinary, I want us to be extraordinary.

But I am coming to terms with change. We are not where we were two years ago. We are not where we were six years ago.

We are where we are right now.

Which I think is smack dab the middle of the mountain.

We've made progress, we have. But we've struggled, different ideals, new boundaries. Jobs and roles have changed over time. And when we started all this 6 years ago, there was no H and no E to consider as we go about life as a blended extended family.

Two steps forward. One step back.

Five years ago, when T turned 6, it was our first blended/extended family challenge. We did it. Awkwardly and stressfully through, it happened.

And we walked away with lessons learned. Truths exposed and realizations made. We're in this for the longhaul.

It was the beginning of vulnerability, insecurities were at their highest and honestly, I look back and wonder how none of us had ulcers. I believe we were probably at our worst back then.

This past Friday, once again, in the dimmest of lights we gathered at the bowling alley, but this time was different. We were not at our worst. We were not at our best. We just were who we are for the kids and for each other.

There were no raging insecurities. Or conflicts of any sort.

But there was distance and boundaries, good boundaries to be had. Boundaries that are needed to continue moving forward, and not back.

Raising children with other people besides your spouse, it's a very intimate relationship. And it's not one that will end. Even when your feelings are hurt or you're in a funk, these people, as long as those kids are in your life, these people are in your life.

And it's not just the other co-parents. It's grandparents and aunts and uncles on both sides, they aren't just people to be dealt with or share pleasantries with, these are people who in my case are forever people in my life because they all love T and M and T and M are some of my forevers.

Have you ever thought of looking at it like that?

We are not perfect and have never claimed to be. We've worked long and hard at the best that is to be had, we've struggled and fallen backwards and now we're right where we're at. Not at the top. Not at the bottom.

Smack dab the middle.

Two steps forward, one step back.


Blogger LutherLiz said...

Gosh is must be hard sometimes, and thankless. But I'm so impressed at your attitude and willingness to keep at it!

February 3, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Jes said...

I love your honesty in this post. I love how hard you and J work to make this huge family work. Even more so after spending a week with friends who come from separated families, and seeing who would be there for them, and who wouldn't. There can never be too many people to love a child. To hear you say that you were all together and that "we just were who we are for the kids and for each other" I think is a huge thing, and says volumes about how much you have worked at this and how far you have come. You and J have an amazing partnership and an amazing strength to make this work, to make it this far, and to continue on.
Enjoy the view from the middle. Quite often it surprises you. And keep working towards the top. Cheers!

February 3, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Jon, Sara, Tyler, and Sophie said...

What a heartfelt and honest post, S. Thanks for being couragious enough to share honestly about your situation.

February 3, 2010 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

The ups and downs of life, build life. build strength. build character. tests strength and test character.
When I see what you are all doing, I'm impressed and encouraged. It may not be easy, but you're doing it. T and M, I am sure see that and appreciate it...I see it, and I appreciate how hard you work to make it work, even when you take a step back, you're always ready to take the next two.

February 3, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
Anonymous dadioz said...

Great observation and insight..Love you forever.


February 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

i soooo get it friend. so get it.

emailing you now...

February 3, 2010 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Anti-Supermom said...

I can't imagine being in your place, but I bet you can't imagine not being in that place either.

Beautiful post that speaks to many hearts, I'm sure.

February 4, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Lee of MWOB said...

Oh Samara - this is a gorgeous post. So honest. And so real. And just knowing you the little bit that I do, it seems you are the perfect soul to be a step-mom. Just wanting the best for the kids at each and every juncture. That is what matters.


February 4, 2010 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous wednesday martin said...

Hi Samara,
Love the post. And take heart--you made it not only past years two and three, but past year five. Meaning you are now officially less likely to break up than a first marriage. All the steps forward and back in a remarriage with kids in the first five years are like going through the crucible--and now you guys are going to reap all the benefits of the communication and compromise you've learned.

As for all the other people--I so agree with what you say about boundaries. There are no rules about how much or how little you "have" to see or interact with them. Glad you're taking care of yourself.
xx wednesday
Wednesday Martin, Ph.D.
author, Stepmonster

February 5, 2010 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger The Fritz Facts said...

Did you know that I needed that right at this very Moment! I am have been in such a funk over everything, and this has made my day. Made me realize that we each do our part, we are each a part of each other from now on. No matter what happens we are in this together, even when it doesn't feel that way.

Thank you...again

February 14, 2010 at 9:13 PM  

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