For all of you new readers out there E is my beautiful step-daughter ... she is five years old and will be attending kindergarten in the fall ... I have been in her life since she barely turned two ... just over three years now ... for the majority of that time she lived with R, but did go back and forth between the two parents frequently ... three months after R and I got married E was legally signed over to us and she has been with us ever since ... This has been a struggle for she and I ... as I have said many times we tend to fight against each other even though we want the same thing.
So ... if I have talked about this topic so much why do I continue to beat this dead horse? Well ... because things do change ... I think that it is very important for step-parents to realize that they are not alone ... that it may get harder before it gets easier ... that no matter how many times you may cry or shut yourself in your room because this is a lot more than you bargained for it does not make you a bad parent. But the main reason I wanted to make this a hot topic again is because a few nights ago E made a startling revelation ... one I will get to ... just hold on a second.
Let me give an update on our little firecracker first ... it has been ... hard ... I mean ... really hard ... She talked so often about moving to Texas ... I don't think that that is the reason it has been hard ... but it for sure could be a factor. Remember when I talked about the weeks that followed Christmas ... how difficult she was ... her hulk moves ... well ... physical actions to express anger have not resurfaced ... but there are these blood-curdling screams ... you would think I was murdering her ... and there is the word "no" ... who knew that one simple little word could send anger coursing so thickly through the bloodstream ... but boy does it ever ... I mean ... there is little that I get angry about ... but the screams and the word ... someone might as well be poisoning me. I think what has made this worse is that we don't get a break from each other, we haven't made friends yet, and we don't know what to do around here yet. No excuses ... it's just hard. This may sound like we are bad people ... but E has been banned from our room ... I need a place that is a sanctuary ... a place that could be hate and negativity free ... and so E is not allowed in our room until she learns to change her heart.
It's not all negative though ... I mean ... having my mom here has helped ... she works but has been around more often than anyone else ever has ... she gets to see how we interact ... she helps me to understand better exactly what I can do ... and she understands why I react the way I do. Before we lived here she just believed that things would get better and they weren't as bad as I was making them sound ... but now she gets it ... she called E "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" ... her switch between happy and mad/sad is instantaneous and you never know what will set her off. She recognizes that our little girl needs help ... she also realizes how easy it is to lose your cool ... not that she ever does ... I mean ... grandma Jan is so good with E that it amazes me everyday ... but just the fact that she gets it ... the fact that I no longer feel so guilty, alone, and like a completely horrible person ... well ... that is an incredible feeling.
So, the other night R and I went out on a date night ... we went to see the new star trek movie ... so we put E to bed and went ... hoping she would just fall asleep so grandma and grandpa didn't have to do anything but be home ... well ... we came home ... she was awake (she has been wanting to stay up late ... like really late) ... we go to say goodnight and she leans into me and says, "you know what mom, I used to really hate you, really hate you, and you know what (her face starts to glow) I don't hate you anymore, my heart says I love you now, isn't that great!" ... we hugged ... I cried (and maybe felt a little validated) ... it felt like a step in the right direction ... I mean ... things haven't exactly changed ... the behavior is still there ... but at least things are somewhat progressing ... right? I think that the behavior is a learned thing ... it has taken so many years to learn it and it will take so many years to unlearn it. Not to mention the things that she has seen in these five short years of life ... girl hasn't had it easy ... if I could take those pains and sights away from her I would ... R and I are desperatly trying to create a better environment for her so she can have a brighter future ... There are just so many things that I need to work on ... but we will get there ... no matter how slowly it may go ... we will get there.
Things To Take Away:
- I say this all the time ... but ... being a step-parent is rough ... especially if you are the main caregiver. I always like to remind people that they are not alone ... that if you need to talk to someone I am here ... I like to remind people that you are not a bad parent if you feel like you can't do it anymore ... you are not a bad parent if you need a sanctuary ... you are not a bad parent, as long as you are trying your hardest to make the current day a little bit better than the day before you are on the right road. Find confidence in that you are trying.
- Sometimes change is so slow that it is painful. I know I would like to wake up and have everything automatically better ... I would like to be better ... I would like her to act better ... I would like everything to be picture perfect like those blogs you read. But life doesn't work like that ... change is usually slow ... arduous ... easily discouraging ... but try not to let it get you down. Why? Well ... I will tell you next.
- Remember that the Lord will never give you trials which you are not able to withstand. So basically the Lord gives us trials right ... to challenge us ... to help us grow ... to show our faith. How I see it is the Lord will give us trials, then the trials become so hard that it feels like we can't bear it any longer ... and then he will push you even further ... this gives you the option of crumbling under pressure or relying on him to help you through. Even though everything may feel super difficult ... ok ... impossible ... if we rely on the Lord we will always make it through ... we will always grow ... and we for sure will come out the other side much better people than we went in.
Have an amazing evening my friends!