I’ve had an interesting, often too-busy life – full of ups and downs. I’m a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a mum, a grandparent, a dog-mummy, a friend, a wife (twice) and a step-mum.
Of all those roles I haven’t perfected any: I still strive to do my best (maybe that old Brownie promise is part of my unconsciousness).
At times I look back and think I’ve been a rubbish parent in some ways…and a rubbish step-mum. Discipline isn’t my strongest trait (apart from self-discipline) and knowing when to be a friend and when to be a parent I found quite tough.
With step-children it’s even tougher. You don’t want to overstep the mark as you are not their mum or dad – you’re just stepping into the role of a parent and trying to ‘guide’ them and I failed miserably. I just didn’t feel it was my job to tell them off and this kept me somewhat distanced. As the boys grew into adults our relationship improved thank goodness and (I feel) we have become friends. I feel I can certainly be completely open and honest with them nowadays.
What I love most is when they bring up childhood memories and we share a laugh. In fact this post was instigated by a chat with one step-son about laughing at things you shouldn’t laugh at (something I still do – and I know its wrong but…).
M reminded me about the time my son (his step-brother) fell off our holiday boat into the canal, and I reminded him about my daughter (his step-sister) sitting on the boat when, as we entered a bridge, the bridge hit her on the back of her head and knocked her down. My husband (C’s step-dad) had to console her as I couldn’t stop laughing.
This may not sound like a lot but it made me realise even as a pretty poor step-mum, and as a family struggling through life in a less-than-perfect family, we share a bond created through our joint past experiences. We have some great memories to look back on and to share with future generations.
This was re-inforced later in the week when our eldest granddaughter and her boyfriend came over. ’M’ remembered so many things; going to Sea Life, buying a plastic mug with her initial on from Woolworths, the annual tradition of going to a local nursery to choose and then dress the Christmas tree with me, sitting in the ‘dog cage’ with the dogs which she loved to do (!) and so on.
I feel blessed to have made those memories. It made me realise although we have many ups and downs, remembering and sharing the best of our experiences is surely what life is all about? It brings a smile to my face and a warm feeling inside…I’m sure that’s not Just a Girl Thing!