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To the Step Parents

I was talking to my step mom last month when I realized I am the age she was when she met my dad and Addie is the age I was when she married my dad. The only thing I could say was “Bless your heart” because the thought of becoming a step mom to a kid like Addie? That sounds unreasonably daunting. It’s not that Addie is a bad kid or that I’m a bad mom, it’s just that Addie is in such an interesting place in life, caught between little kid and young lady, that anyone who comes into her life can be a huge influence for either good or very, very bad.

Never having kids of her own, my step mom took us in as her own at 7 and 9 years old and damn if she didn’t try hard. We gave her a hard time, not because we didn’t like her, but because we were moody kids with divorced parents who kind of hated each other. She wasn’t eased into parenthood like most of us. Newborn to baby to toddler to kid to young adult, she was thrown headfirst into two girls who were way past toddler and kid.

I’ve made her a grandma and she’s taken to it in the most amazing way possible. Both my husband and I agree that there’s no competing with Gramma Flower. I think back to all the fights we had when we were younger and I just wish I could go back, put my hands on her shoulders and say “You’re doing a really good job, these kids, they’re just kind of jerks. Sorry about that.”

My mom did an excellent job of raising us. She taught us hard lessons early on and gave us the ability to fend and provide for ourselves in a way most moms don’t, and I know I’m strong and capable because of her. My step mom on the other hand was caring and crafty. She’d go out of her way to make sure my sister and I were happy and I’ll be honest, there were times we took advantage., but as I look back at her influence in my life I’ve realized that I could have never become who I am without her.

My step mom loves to decorate for the holidays, make big dinners and throw parties. She always walks guests to the door and she hangs out with her mom regularly and talks to her daily (In fact her mom is my most favorite grandma.) She laughs easily and loves with her whole heart. She takes remarkably good care of my dad and always has. She knew when she married my dad that she’d never have children of her own, but she took us in as her own and as far as I’m concerned my kids are her grand kids 100%. They may not share blood, but the similarities and bond these three blondes share is uncanny.

In my experience becoming a step parent may be a harder learning curve than becoming a parent, but I can speak from experience that if you love those kids with your whole heart as if they were your own, someday they’ll be able to thank you and give you the appreciation you deserve. I dare say that my step mom and step dad may have had more influence in my life, especially in my rough teen years, than my own parents. The were able to approach me as who I was at the time, not the kid that was once so sweet and then went hormonal BOOM!

I’ve been spending the last few years trying to make up for the jerk I was to my parents when I was younger. They did a good job and my goodness they are fantastic grandparents.

It was worth it you guys. Thanks for not throwing me out on my rear, and for sacrificing so much for my sister and me. I wouldn’t be nearly this awesome without the influence of the people you chose to marry after you divorced each other.

Good job guys. All four of you.

Find more Casey on her blog, twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and facebook.

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