Diane's Everyday3

Faith, hope, depression, Jesus, Love, grateful, Family, hope, appreciation

One Stepmom’s Story February 4, 2017

Filed under: Appreciation,Christianity,Divorce,Faith,family — Diane Turk Rogers @ 5:31 am
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Nov. 30, 1986 changed the course of my life. Thirty years later I can honestly say I believe I am right where God planned for me to be., then and now. That fall night is when I met Larry. We talked about many things… his job in real estate, my job as concierge at Marriott Hotel, our parents and siblings, him being divorced, the usual stuff. None of those subjects caused Larry’s pretty blue eyes to light up. We were simply making nervous “getting to know each other conversation. Then I asked, “So, do you have any kids?” He smiled so big and he proudly said, “Yes, I do”… He told me all about Ryan, 9 and Jennifer, 7. His reaction warmed my heart. The rest of the night we danced and talked for hours.

As a young girl, I always dreamed of being a mother. I imagined myself having a son first then two years later a daughter. Coincidence you say, I think not. Little did we know, God’s plan was being set in motion the night Larry crashed the employee event at the La Jolla Marriott Hotel.

It was obvious Larry’s devotion to his children was his number one priority, as they should be. He fought hard to be in their lives. He shared legal and physical custody with Ryan and Jennifer’s mom, Lisa. Sadly, the divorce was not amicable which made things hard on everyone involved. Especially Ry and Jen.

I moved in with Larry just a few short weeks after meeting him. Not the ideal role model for them, as we were not married yet. We had fun… Baking cupcakes, doing homework, and shopping for school clothes, celebrating birthdays, etc. We did the typical things families with young kids do. Each week, when it was time for us to take them back to their Mom’s, you could feel the tension. There were no friendly greetings, no exchange of pleasantries, “how were things?” “Anything I should know about school?” They simply got out of the car, hugged and kissed us goodbye, and that was it. This was the norm week after week for many years.

Because our days off from were during the week, we had the kids on school days. Larry wasn’t just a “weekend Dad.” It wasn’t long before a comfortable routine took shape. The kids had chores and made a regular allowance. Ryan mowed the lawn and helped with other yard work. Jennifer cleaned up our dog Keri’s poop (ewww) and bathed her regularly. We did major homework assignments and projects with them as well as attended conferences, field trips and other school events. We swapped Christmas Day with Lisa. She had them Thanksgiving and Easter. We had them Halloween and 4th of July. We were truly a family.

Anyone who knows Larry knows he absolutely loves taking pictures. I kid you not; we have an entire wall in our garage filled floor to ceiling with boxes of pictures. We always had tons of photo albums and collage frames throughout the house to recall sweet memories at any time. Field trips with their classes, trips to the Del Mar Fair, sleepovers with friends, San Diego Zoo days, Mexico vacations and camping trips… The list goes on and on. All have been captured forever in pictures and lots of videos too.

Every now and then someone would ask me if Larry and I were going to have children together. I broached the issue with Larry a few times and he always said he would not have any more children. Jennifer used to tell me she wanted a little sister. I don’t remember how I would respond. But I was actually fine with the idea of not giving birth to children and being their stepmom. To this day, I’m still alright with not giving birth and being their stepmom. People still ask me if I regret not having kids of my own (that’s how they put it) and I tell them I do have kids of my own. I just share them with their mom. I can’t speak for other stepparents, but for me, I can’t imagine loving a child more than I love Ryan and Jennifer. They gave me their hearts. I gave them mine. We figured out how to make our family work. Were Larry and I perfect parents? Nope. Were there bumps along the way? Oh yes. I would not change a single thing about the last three decades with Larry, Ryan and Jennifer. Everything we went through makes us the family we are today. And I love our family more than I can explain.

I’ve even had someone hint about being a “stepmom” is just not the same as being a “real mom.” Who are they to say? How do they know my heart? They can’t feel what I feel. Nor can I feel what they feel. No one can experience things exactly like someone else does. We can have similar life circumstances but each of us is an individual who brings our own reactions, emotions and baggage as we experience this thing called life.

What I do know is; I still haven’t had any regrets about my stepmotherhood. Being a wife to Larry and stepmom to Ryan and Jennifer have been the most important roles in my life. Recently Jennifer told me she appreciated me coming into their Dad’s life when I did. She said their lives became more stable after I arrived. You see, after Larry’s divorce from Lisa, he moved around quite a bit. He even had a stint living in his RV. All the while having joint custody of the kids. Once I was there, we created routine and stability for Ryan and Jennifer. Don’t get me wrong. They were secure in their father’s love for them and the fact that he provided for them. But moving around, not having a permanent “home” or a bedroom to call their own while with Dad surely caused some insecurity in their little hearts and minds. Until Jennifer said what she did about being thankful I came into their lives, I wasn’t sure she and Ryan thought much about what influence I have had on their lives.

There you have it, one stepmom’s story. The lives and circumstances of families effected by divorce and remarriages varies widely. Each person bringing his or her “baggage” into the equation adds layer upon layer of confusion for everyone, especially the innocent children.

 

Be mindful all the time… Past hurts come back to haunt the inflictor and inflictee January 5, 2010

Life has a funny way of “reminding” us of things we have done in our past. Every minute of every day we should be mindful of what we do and say. Our actions, comments, gestures, etc. all become part of our past experiences and the experiences of those we encounter.

It seems like it should be so easy to avoid creating “past hurts.”  Just don’t create them, right?  I’m learning why it’s not that easy.  I have firsthand knowledge of how these hurts resurface late in a person’s live.  I am speaking specifically from recent experience.  At this very moment I am witnessing past hurts making themselves very current and real.  It’s a strange phenomenon to watch.  The particular past hurts I’m talking about are hurts that cut deep.  They are ugly.  They are mean.  They are scary.  They are cruel.  They are sad.  Past hurts are part of what mold us as people.  They are unfortunately a huge factor in making us who we are.  No matter how much we try to deny, hide from, bury or ignore them, past hurts are there.  Usually in a big way.

The process of creating “past hurts” is a complex and when they’re created it’s sometimes unintentional.  Sort of a learned behavior.  It is far too complicated to explain in my blog and I’m certainly not qualified.  But I want to give my opinion for what it’s worth.

We will do whatever it takes to experience these important emotions.  We will especially do whatever it takes to please the ones who are supposed to love us, keep us safe and accept us the most in our lives.  These people are our parents and families.

Simply put, people learn early in life just what they have to do to feel loved, safe and accepted.  Good or bad, these “tapes” are recorded in our brains at about six years old, from what I’ve heard.  Again, I’m not an expert but I trust the source of this information.  WOW!!  At six our core personalities are pretty much set.  No wonder at 47 I’m still figuring out how to erase and re-record!

I know it’s not possible to recreate our past or erase past experiences.  I also know it is possible to make peace with past hurts and fill yourself up with better stuff!!!  I truly do KNOW this.  Depending on how you look at it you can have fun doing it or you can make it seem more like work!  I’m doing it and I’m having fun.  Yes, I have some bad days.  I do still have little pity parties for the little girl in me who didn’t have a daddy who carried her on his shoulders or tucked her in at night and called her Princess.  (Sorry, I digress…)

Baking cookies with Liz

My point is, I have choices to make every day.  I can carry on the negative thoughts and feelings or I can have fun creating wonderful future “past” experiences for myself and those I encounter.  Baking cookies with my niece, telling stories to my grandson,

Stories...

Telling Cameron a Story

thanking a soldier, reminding my kids how much I love and appreciate them…  These are all things I “choose” to do.  And they make me and someone else happy.  Hey, a positive “past” experience had by all.  It’s actually pretty easy.

Here are a few things I’ve been thinking of as I write;

If you want your children to grow up to be nice people, be nice to them and be nice to others, your kids are watching.

If you want to be respected, treat others with respect.

If you want to be appreciated, show appreciation for the things you have and the people who do nice things for you.

If you want to smile, make someone else smile.

If you want to feel good, make others feel good.

If you want your children to be confident, never stop telling them how proud they make you.

If you want to be understood, try to understand how someone else feels before you think about your own feelings.

If you want to have close friends, offer your support to a friend in need.

If you want your children to be kind, show them how.

If rude people bother you, don’t be rude yourself.

Remember.  Be mindful of what you do and say every minute of every day.  After all.  You’re creating “past” experiences.

I am going to end with something I read recently in an article about setting priorities.  A man was talking about a slap in the face he got when he heard his 5-year-old son talking to a little friend.  His little boy said, “I don’t think my Daddy likes being around me.  Every time I ask him to play with me when he comes home from work he says he’s too tired.”  This man broke down and cried!  Now he plays with his son in the morning before work and in the evening after dinner,  every single day!!  And a lot more on weekends.  Bad “past hurts” transformed into “great memories” and far more for a lucky little boy and his Dad!