Posts tagged ‘stepson’
My stepson, Preston, had a birthday recently. He turned five and we celebrated with presents, cake and ice cream. His Dad, my wife’s ex-husband, was coming over along with my father in law. Now, there was a time when the idea of my wife’s ex coming over here, and staying for awhile, would have bothered me. Sometimes, I suppose, it still does, but, for the most part, I’m over that.
Marrying someone who has children from a previous marriage carries along a certain amount of baggage and a ton of patience. The interests of that child ALWAYS has to be first, no matter what you and the ex think of each other. I know I am not this man’s best friend. I don’t even know if he considers me a friend or not. I think if circumstances were different, we could be very good friends and, maybe someday, we will be. For now, I think it is tolerance of each other. I am not sure. Tenuous, yes. Hatred, no…not on my part anyway and I don’t think he hates me either. I don’t hate the guy. Not at all. I don’t agree with everything, but I respect what he does (he’s a counselor and has seen and dealt with things I probably would be unable to cope with) and respect the fact that he is a Dad, Preston’s Dad. I think we’ve gotten past the early distrust and, now, we even help each other. He took it upon himself to prop up our fence. Neither myself nor my wife asked him to do that. I’m sure he had Preston in mind, but, nonetheless, he did help us (a tree had fallen on the fence during one of our freaky snow storms…several inches fell, but was all gone in a day. Typical, for this part of Virginia.)
Sometimes, being the stepfather is hard. Seeing the disappointment on Preston’s face when his Dad leaves and I’m still here. Being only five now, he doesn’t understand. Someday, he will.
Preston and I get along great and we have fun, but I’m not his Dad and he knows that. I try to comfort him, in times like that, but his mother usually is the one who gets him calm and relaxed. I’m still learning how to do that.
Discipline is another tricky and slippery slope. When both Mom and Dad are around, I will usually defer to one of them when it comes to correcting Preston. Of course, sometimes I have to interject and that’s OK. When it is just myself and my wife, I do correct him. Even so, we have different ideas as to how to do that. Sometimes my way works, sometimes its hers. We learn together.
Our situation is unique and I am glad that Preston’s father is the way he is…making Preston the focus and working with us and not against us. I’ve seen how nasty things like this can get and it is the children that lose in the end.
Preston is fortunate in that he has three parents who do love him. I think of him as my own, but I would never stand in between him and his Dad. A father-son relationship is very special, I would be the last person on the planet to interfere with that.
I still remember when my late wife informed me that she was pregnant. I was still mostly asleep.
“Honey, I’m pregnant.”
“That’s nice dear!”
“Did you hear me? I’m pregnant!”
That was nearly sixteen years ago. Last summer, my wife says “Honey, I’m pregnant! I’m not crazy!”
My reaction, this time, was a bit more lively. Tears ensued and, well, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Just like that moment, sixteen years ago when it finally struck me that I was going to be a Dad.
Until I met and married my first wife, being a father was the last thing on my mind. I was a horny geek. I only cared about geek stuff and sex. Funny thing, once the sex entered the picture, I didn’t even care about the geek stuff.
I was a late bloomer when it came to dating. Awkward and inexperienced. I had no idea as to what to do or how to act. Again, being a father was something I had not given a second thought. I was a typical guy, I suppose. Dating and all that comes with it was fun and exhausting. I had a couple of ‘long’ relationships, even thought one was going to be ‘it’. It wasn’t, but that is OK. It would not be long before I found ‘it’. She was cute, funny and someone I took to right away.
And, once I realized that this cute, funny woman was someone I wanted to settle down with, then I began to think. Maybe this family thing was something I wanted. Yeah, maybe so. We talked about it, a lot. We decided we wanted to be in our own house before raising a child. Almost six years went by…
Fast forward to 1997 when my first son was born.
Suddenly, I had this wonderful little person to help care for. It was rough at times, for Chase was colicky and, once we got that under control, he started getting sick. A lot. As time went on, we found out that he had an autoimmune problem. He could not produce enough white blood cells to fight off anything. As he got older, it got worse and we ended up having to give him infusions once a month. It worked, and his immune system got much better.
Today, he still gets sick, but not as often and not as long as he used to.
In 2010, Chase’s mother passed away. She died from pneumonia, but had been sick for quite some time. It was quite a shock to both of us, but Chase was my bedrock and we got through it.
Through Facebook, a relationship with someone blossomed and, last year, I married her. She is a beautiful, vibrant and all around awesome lady. And, best of all, she puts up with me.
Preston, my wife’s son from a previous marriage, is a smart and full of energy five year old. Like Chase, Preston is a scary smart kid. Preston needs little in the way of instruction when it comes to electronic devices. He can grasp certain ideas (but, like any child, there are some that go over his head, like listening to parents) and has an excellent grasp of the English language. He is lucky in that he has not one, not two but three parents who care deeply for him and spend the time with him.
Xander, our six week old, is just so damned sweet. So sweet, you just want to eat him up, figuratively, of course. I cannot wait to experience the firsts again, to watch him figure out what those things are that he keeps flailing. To watch him experience solid foods. Take him to his first movie. Watch him walk. Watch him develop. And, I cannot wait to ride his first rollercoaster. I got to do that with Chase and Preston. It was very special. I still remember riding one, for the first time, with my Dad. It was the Scooby Doo at Kings Dominion near Richmond. I remember the Jet Star at the State Fair. I don’t know why, but the rollercoaster experience seems very special to me and I cannot wait to do so with Xander.
Being a Dad has its downs as well. Having to correct them is never fun. Especially when you know they are fully capable but were just careless. Teaching them that there will be consequences in life for ones actions is, perhaps, the most difficult part of parenting.
Perhaps being able to tell when they need guidance and help is also a difficult aspect. I know I’ve had issues with it. Both our five and fifteen year old have needed certain help and I was slow to recognize that. But, we have gotten over that. At least, I hope we have. As with anything in life, one never can be certain but you hope you do the best for them.
I hope my sons know I am there for them. It may not always seem like it, but I am. Just as my wonderful wife is, so am I.
Trying to maintain a balance with the kids, my wife and my own needs is very tricky. Sometimes I am selfish, I know. I try my best not to be, but I know I don’t always succeed. My bride sometimes lets me know, but, for the most part, she puts up with me and does not complain. She is awesome.
With all it entails, I cherish the role of Dad. I would not trade it for anything in the world.