When saying good night last night on the phone with Sufer Boy our conversation sort-of turned out a little different than usual and the conversation went in a direction on a subject that we never really talked about before. This is how it went:
Note: I don’t usually send SB articles on family and relationships. I may use careful consideration next time.
me: Hi love, did you have a good night?
SB: Yeah, everything was great!
me: Oh good. Did you get my emails today?
SB: Which one?
me: All of them. There were three, right?
SB: Yeah I got those.
me: Did you think the two were funny? I thought they were hilarious!
SB: Yeah, they were funny.
me: What did you think of the other email with the article on dads?
SB: I don’t know, did I do something wrong?
me: Wrong? Uh-no babe, why would you think that?
SB: I don’t know, just asking.
me: I came across that article today, read it and thought about you. I thought about how sometimes articles regarding family focus so much on the woman, the mom and it was nice to see an article written by a woman who took notice to the important role and concerns a man, a father, a significant other plays in a family or relationship that have kids involved. It talked about the worries that step dads and fathers go through and I wanted to share it with you since I know you worry about stuff sometimes. I thought it said some nice things too.
SB: Yeah babe I read it.
me: The whole thing?
SB: Yes, the whole thing.
(*moment of silence and maybe some Jeopardy music*)
me: OK good. Have you ever thought of yourself as being a step dad?
(*oops…hey, just throwing it out there…or was that insert foot in mouth…planting a seed…or was that “getting the cart ahead of the horse”?*)
SB: Uhhhhh – No.
me: Oh you have never thought of that this whole time? … (*sounding completely dumb-founded, and not understanding how that never would have crossed his mind*)
…I quickly moved on to another subject.
SB’s relationship with my kids is the closest I have ever personally experienced when it comes to a step dad type of relationship. My kids really like to be with him and his boys. SB has taken the girls places, helped with their homework, shown them how to ride their bike, given them support, hugs, kisses, put them on a surfboard, taken them camping, gives them thumbs up, set up their bedroom furniture, and I could go on. In a nutshell, we all spend a lot of time together.
I have never had a step dad. My mom never remarried. She has dated, and they were more like friends to me, maybe because I was much older. SB’s parents are still married and he has never experienced anything like this. I think he just has a big heart and never really put a title to it before.
I know a step dad does not need to fill shoes but being a friend and confidant, or a special person to trust and look up to for guidance, love and support is all that counts. I think becoming or thinking about becoming a step dad or stepparent for that matter is really opening up your heart and realizing that you are now not only responsible, caring for and protecting your own children, but someone else’s too. It’s really about opening your heart.
The truth is a lot of people wouldn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s kids. It is an overwhelming task that has little reward if any at all. If you are looking for any compensation you won’t get it. Being a step parent is a completely selfless act. Just ask me! I’ve done it. My stepdaughter has wiped me out of her life since my divorce with her dad. I raised her every day of her life since she was 8 until the day she got married at 22 years old. Her mother was not around nor did she contribute to her life much. I gave up most of my early adult life to give her a childhood. We have been through bras, battles, and baby showers. I have no regrets. It was very rewarding for me because I did it selflessly. If God put me there, he knew I could handle it and that is just what I did. I will always love her dearly.
If you are in a relationship with another man or woman with children, I think it is imperative to discuss expectations, roles, and family dynamics. How else can you get on the same page or have that vital communication we all seek?