Keeping Up With the Griswolds

ImageSometimes step-mothering feels like it could be an amusement park ride.  It has the twists and turns, climbs and chasms of an old wooden coaster.  I would be lying if I said I always love the thrill of the ride.  I don’t.  Honestly, sometimes I find myself feeling as turned about and inside out as I do after getting off an amusement park ride.

 Take this weekend.  It’s the second week of Advent.  (Or in the girls’ minds—it’s 18 days until Christmas.)  Snow is in the forecast.  Our calendar is packed with what could be labeled “good old fashioned Griswold family fun.”  From starting with a sleepover, to traveling through cookie baking with friends, and coasting to a close with family snow fun, these are all wonderful.  I love them.  But throw a holiday hair-pin turn in there.  And the rickety-speed that accompanies “blended family life” (there’s a reason the term involves a lot of shaking around), and you get one high-energy, action-packed ride. 

 Anyone who has been to Hershey Park with me knows, I like rides in small palatable doses.  I enjoy the Comet—from the ground.  I delight in waving and smiling at my beloveds on the ride.  Sitting on the ride with my beloveds—not so much.   The sensory overload combined with the lack of control isn’t always my first choice for fun.  In fact, it’s more like the ride provides practice for spiritual disciplines like letting go and letting God.  Like recognizing that feeling in my stomach can be excitement or fear—it’s my brain that chooses.  Like remembering that I, like my beloveds, am along for the ride. 

When I’m honest, I can say—this term amusement is bogus.  It isn’t always so amusing.  The same can be true of step parenting.  It isn’t always amusing.  Many moments it’s tough, and some days it’s down right over-whelming.   Just when I find myself wondering, what’s next, the girls surprise me.  After an evening of over-tired and over-sugared girls, I found myself counting the moments until bedtime.  And praying that it would be that—bed.  Shortly after tuck-in, I heard my step-daughters humming themselves  to sleep with Christmas carols.  It’s like the wind in my hair on a roller coaster.  Grace whooshes all around me.  I can let go of the handlebars, raise my hands in the air, and tilt my head back to enjoy the ride.

 

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6 thoughts on “Keeping Up With the Griswolds

  1. Megan, I love your reflection on blended family. I am 14 years into au blended family. Your reflection sound like I felt. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Thank you Twanda. I would say one of my biggest teachers the last two years has been our blended family. Hearing you say it sounds familiar and that you say this from a 14 year perspective, gives me comfort.

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  2. Excuse the errors in my previous post. Yes, it was my biggest teacher. What an experience! I had to learn to embrace it. It seems like you have embraced it. Yes, take comfort. We continue to blend, but eventually it comes together. Interesting that it’s called “blended family.” I had to come to the realization that it was not the “traditional” family and needed to be treated it differently. The struggle was what did “different” look like. You have put words on how I have felt in my earlier years. Keep writing! I love it! One day I want to write a book on the blended family and our experience.

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    • I have been working on the same delineation–between traditional family and blended family/the difference in role between mother and step-mother. And releasing my own expectations of self as to what a mother “should do.” Oh being honest with myself about shoulds and what others might think, this has been part of my education. Thanks for the encouragement. I would say I am embracing it. To me it feels like a call…and like a call, I can tell living into this takes integrity, humor, grace, and time.

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  3. I love this. I love this for so, so many reasons. There are days where I count not just minutes, but seconds to bedtime. Days where I am so overextended that I find myself crying for a few quiet moments in the bathroom and then there is that laugh or smile or compliment like “mom, you’re beautiful” that reminds me why I continue this journey and why I long to continue this journey.

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  4. Ashley, I have found step-mothering to be the most challenging and rewarding invitation I have ever said yes to. It is different enough from “being the Mom” that I definitely have found a love of reading and writing about what makes being a step-mom unique.

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