It’s hard to think about kids being adults when you’re hauling them to sports, birthday parties, and school events, buying uniforms, shoes, books, and the multitude of things that kids need to survive, but I’ve had the opportunity to see all 3 of our older kids, (my step-kids) recently and see how they’re doing, and wonder how the younger kids are going to be when they get there.
Our oldest, who is now 27 is a single mom of 2, who has a pretty hard time keeping a job for some reason, or many reasons, and has, for the most part, used up the emotional and financial resources I have available for her. It’s sad to feel that way, but such is life.
The second was here recently, and is now in Afghanistan, doing his part in whatever it is we’re doing, or not doing there. He’s a good kid, done well, working in intelligence, and we all have our fingers crossed that he gets through this portion of his life intact and comes back home.
Number three is here visiting, and is a joy to be around. In every aspect of his life, he seems to be a success. He has a good job, good friends, everyone that knows him seems to really like him, and he has a wonderful girlfriend who the younger kids adore. We had a chance to have one of those talks that you don’t get to talk about with your kids when they’re little. With statements like:
“I can’t believe you really let me do that in 8th grade”
He has always been one to think things through, and feels as if I had a very significant influence on his life. Not that I was perfect, we both agree on that, but he is amazed that when I was only a few years older than he is now, I took on a single mom with 3 young kids.
There aren’t many things, or maybe any things that I think are more valuable to me than having him think that I was a good dad to him over the years, and that, with all my inexperience, short temperedness and just plain blundering my way through this parenting thing, that he thinks I contributed to his success in life.
Just the fact that a twenty something would even think of that is exceptional, and I’m glad I was the person around for him in the times that he remembers being valuable, and how fortunate that he has forgotten, or has chosen to forget those times when I wasn’t so valuable.
I hope I can be as positive an influence on my younger kids, and whoever my wife meets and introduces to them, is better at it than I was back then.
If you have a step-parent that did a good job, or a reasonably good job helping you get through your childhood, and you haven’t let them know, give them a call or send a email and let them know. Or go and visit them, and sit around their table, and have that conversation you couldn’t have when you were younger. It was really valuable to know that, in all of the struggles, stresses, altercations, and general mayhem that was our family over the years, I did something right.
I always thought, if their mother ever gave up on me, they’d ask her what took her so long. It seems that they don’t feel that way.