Stepping Through Parenthood

I should have been smarter than that. After all, it was the evening before I would enter my 30’s.

But insecurity, infatuation, a touch of desperation, and a ‘why not’ attitude, seemed to be my motivating impulses.

So, I said ‘I do’ with no understanding the dangers step parenting hides for the unsuspecting. The man on the other side of this ‘til death do us part’ fantasy and his former wife had birthed four children, now ranging in ages 12 to 17. Yes, in the throes of teenage hormones racing through their bodies similar to the present day Covid 19 virus without a vaccine to protect them and me.

I am aware that I was somewhat ill-prepared (that would translate into stupid) in the ways of teenagers, even though I had once gone through those same rocky times a mere 15 years prior. But now that I was ending my 20’s, I assumed I had graduated from the school of unknowing ignorance.

Much to my chagrin, that was not the case.

There was a bright spot in the chaos that followed our wedding: these four teenagers, 3 girls and 1 boy, were nice kids, thank goodness. And they were tolerant of this crazy woman who seemed less than capable of contributing to a stable home.

We bought a small house in a nice neighborhood, and moved my single lifestyle furniture in. This would include a white brocade tuxedo sofa, two pale yellow club chairs, a glass and chrome dining table, and a crystal chandelier dramatically centered over said table in a smallish dining room. 

Unfurnished the rooms looked adequate in size, but positioning the overstuffed chairs and couch required some post purchase remodeling. Nothing major, just the removal of a fake fireplace in the living room. Then other issues raised their ugly heads. 

We couldn’t seat six people at one time unless someone or some two or three wanted to sit on the floor.

As most of you who have had teenagers know, they are never alone. They bring friends over in hordes, raiding the pink refrigerator (pink appliances are yet another story), hoping they can stay for dinner.

The 14-year-old junior high football player was living with us permanently, but the girls were in and out a lot, thus our single small bathroom was akin to a restroom stall at the Greyhound bus station.

I thought by the time we reached the first tri-semester of our matrimony bliss we would be settled into routine boredom, but no such luck. The tales of the next 11 years would make a book any new step-parent should read and memorize, before strolling down the aisle.

Car wrecks, middle-of-the-night runs to the hospital, sex questions, marriages, divorces, graduations, grandbabies, and new businesses kept the stories and grey hairs coming usually with lots of laughter and misunderstandings. 

It pays to have a sense of humor and a blind eye to lots of things if you’re going to go into step-parenting. Just my few words to the wise.

6 thoughts on “Stepping Through Parenthood

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