I had a conversation today, and I want to share some of it. I hope it helps anyone who may be walking a similar road.
It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. By far. Seeing my mom struggle with Alzheimer’s is hard, but my mom loves me. Unconditionally she loves me. So that aspect of our relationship and the memories we’ve made fills in a lot of the painful areas and cushions them for me.
Since I walked into the step mom role five years ago, I’ve faced CONSTANT opposition from several people.
Hear me, I’m not the kind of person who needs approval. I just kind of do my thing and live my life, knowing I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. However, the constant opposition throughout John’s and my dating and marriage makes for about 8 years of it. And it isn’t people I have the luxury of distancing myself from. I have to see them and deal with them regularly.
And I’ll admit, it’s taken it’s toll. I don’t think I always realize it, but it does. The sudden onset of my life altering anxiety came about a year after my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and we had to move her out of her house and put her dog to sleep. But it also came the same time Riley moved in full time with her mom, got pregnant, had a miscarriage, and we’ve all been dealing with the aftermath of that.
I was in a conversation with a PRECIOUS new friend earlier today who text me to check on me. I found myself, as I so often do, trying to explain my relationship with Riley and where I stand in all that’s going on (because I haven’t seen Riley in months and every time someone asks about her I have no clue how to respond....and it’s hard.....and it’s not at all what I figured would be the situation so I’m just trying to roll with it and do the best I can.......)
At one point I said to my friend, “I hope you don’t think I’m being cold about the situation,” she responded with, “it doesn’t matter what anyone who isn’t living it thinks.”
Boom. That’s a truth bomb.
And it reminded me.
Years ago I promised myself I would learn to become free from trying to explain myself to others. Easier said than done. But I’m working on it. Because truthfully it DOESN’T matter what anyone thinks. I don’t need to be understood and I don’t have to explain myself.
My relationship with Riley is a clear example of how life turns out sometimes. Sometimes you give love and plant seeds and try for a relationship with someone, and it doesn’t turn out anything like what you think it’s going to. But that doesn’t mean it’s wasted. Love is never wasted. Even if it hurts like hell. Love is never wasted.
Here’s the bottom line.
Riley was made to feel like she was forced to choose between me and other people in her life she loved.
It isn’t a choice any child should have to make.
The more people we have who love our kids and pour into them and give them the tools to become successful adults, the better. If you are a parent I beg you to remember that. It take a village. If you have someone who loves your child and teaches them things they should know, be grateful. Regardless of your personal feelings for that person. If you have people in your child’s life who have their best interests at heart, you’re fortunate. Broken families are hard. Blended families are hard. But if everyone is Invested in doing what’s best for the kids, it can be a beautiful thing.
I hope this meets you where you are as a parent and encourages you. It isn’t easy. Parenting isn’t easy. Marriage isn’t easy. Relationships aren’t easy. But nothing worthwhile is easy.
I love y’all.