Day 1, Again

Day 1

Dear Heavenly Father.

Here I am again, asking for your guidance and protection. You have remained faithful to me. I, therefore will hold onto my faith with both hands and not let go, no matter how heavy I feel.

Lord, I ask that you protect me from being influenced by my sinful nature. May you be SO BIG, that everywhere I look, I see you; preventing me from taking my eyes off you.

Please help me to respond to the decisions of my son, and not react. Please continue to give me hope and peace if there is none.

I’m turning my son over to you. I know how much you love him. Please hold until him with both hands. Speak to him.

Your daughter,

Kim

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My Little Girl’s Dad

Since my husband subscribes to my blog, but seldom reads it, I feel pretty confident about talking about him today.

In all honesty though, it would save him from hearing the same stories over and over again. When I start to repeat myself, which I do often, he could always say, “I already read it”.

So since this is something I would never bring up to him anyway, this is perfect!

I want to talk about my husband’s and daughter’s relationship. He is her step-dad. Even though he’s known her since she was two, she’s always known he’s not her biological dad.

I remember when we were dating she would be so jealous of Smart. She would ask if she could call him dad too. We would never let her. It wasn’t appropriate, but boy was she excited for that first Father’s Day we had after we were married.

I was quite surprised how she reacted to it. It was obviously more important to her than I thought. When I asked her about it she said, “It’s my FIRST Father’s Day!”

Well, I guess she was right. I never thought about it, but she’d had no contact with her bio dad, unlike her older brothers who saw their dad three weekends a month.

So having a dad was a big deal.

Over the years I’ve watched the two interact. And I’m not proud to say this, but I just thought…

– Wow, hon. You’re not a very good little girl’s dad. You’re a great little boy’s dad, but being a little girl’s dad? Not so much.

He’s just rough with her. Not physically, but with his words. I mean he can be rough with anyone, so it’s not like he’s singling her out. But I just felt she’s a girl, and he’s being pretty harsh.

But recently, I’ve noticed something happening. She’s eleven now, almost twelve. And boy is she sharp as a whip when someone tries to tear her down with their words. She doesn’t let them hurt her easily. She didn’t get that from me. Not me at all.

Now, the flip side to this, is she is ruthlessly sarcastic and annoyingly sassy. Both qualities that suck for her parents, but will serve her well as an adult.

Then it hit me. He’s an AWESOME little girl’s dad!

I mean, look what he’s taught her. How to stand up for herself. How not to be so sensitive to what people say. How not to take things so seriously.

He loves her and gives her just as much crap as he gives the boys. Who better to talk crap to my little girl, than someone who does it with love? 

The world is going to do it to her, and it doesn’t give a rip about her. He’s not trying to hurt her. He’s making her tough. He’s giving her skills to protect herself.

Now, I don’t think he’s conscious of what he’s doing. He’s just a natural dad with a wife who tries really REALLY hard to stay out of his way.

This weekend we had his family over for Gamer’s birthday, and as I watched and listened to my sister-in-laws talk and interact I thought, I bet no one pushes them around. And their daughters included. 

They ALL learned this thing, I don’t know what it’s called, from their dad.

It’s what dads teach when their kids have to live and breathe in a world that’s not always so soft and gentle and sensitive with it’s words or how it treats people.

What an awesome family to be apart of. What an awesome quality to pass down to my daughter.

So recently, he tells me he’s going to run across the street to talk to the neighbor.

Our daughter tells him, “I’d walk, if I was you.”

I looked at my husband, “You know she gets that from YOU.” 🙂

I’m so glad she does.

Things We Hope For

I have a secret.

My son, Tunes, is back! He’s actually been back for a couple of weeks.

One happy momma, RIGHT HERE!

Not because I can’t let go. Not because I’m being codependent or enabling. Not because, “I told you so.”

But because I love my son, and God is faithful.

He’s grown up so much. He’s not a little boy anymore.

We’ve got some boundaries set up. Not that they’re any different than before, but they’re there.

He will be treated as a grown man, as long as he continues to act like one. He starts acting stupid, well then he’s out.

He will start paying, continue working, and act responsibly.

So far, he’s been doing a great job. I couldn’t be more prouder of him. Well, except when he eats my Italian turkey sausage that I’ve been saving.

But I’m not even mad, because he’s eating. That’s something he was neglecting to do while he’s been out of the house for the past nine months.

I don’t include Subway, as eating if you only do it twice a day, everyday. He has a hook up. Still, he’s resourceful. He made it work. I’m just glad he’s eating real food again.

Last night was the first night he sat down and had dinner with us.

Oh, how I’ve missed him. And when I say missed him, I don’t just mean him physically being in my home.

No, he’s finally broken through whatever has been holding him back.

He’s growing into the person I knew he could be. The one I’ve been dreaming of. The one I’ve been praying for.

When I see Tunes, now, he’s smiling. He’s talking. He’s sitting down, watching TV or interacting with his siblings. He’s loving on the dog he’s never liked. He’s helping his brother with his homework and he’s playing with his sister.

He’s never done these things before. I don’t know what’s been holding him captive, but he’s finally free of it.

It makes my heart sing.

In all honesty, I know it wasn’t his decision to come back. He really didn’t have another option. His room he was staying in was requested back.

He did try to make other arrangements first. They were put on hold, until the end of the month. We shall see.

But until then, I will marvel at the young man he has turned into.

When he left, two months before he graduated high school, and I poured my heart out to God in prayer, I had no idea the plan he had for my son.

But I trusted he had one. I trusted he loved my son, even more than I did.

I didn’t know it, but I knew it. Does that make sense? It’s, faith. Having it is easy, growing it is… well, scary.

My Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your promises. Thank you for the opportunities to grow my faith, my faith in you.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

The Step Mom

I often don’t write about Gamer and Smart, for a couple of reasons. They are my step kids. And even though they say you’re not suppose to look at your step children any differently than your own, you do; well I do. It doesn’t mean I love them any less.

Just differently.

I have a hard time figuring out how I play into their lives. They already have a mom and dad who love them to the moon. But I’m not just a friend either, who just wants them to like me.

I’m somewhere in the middle.

Nothing about being a step, is easy.

One of the sweetest presents our friends gave us as a wedding present was a stack of books about blending families.

I was so grateful, because I didn’t know how we were going to do this stuff. Mike is not from a blended family. I am, but that only happened after I was an adult and didn’t have to grow up in it.

Not only did we suddenly realized none of our friends were from a blended family, but none of them had them either!

How the heck were we going to do this?

Can this even be done?

I’ve heard there’s lots of them out there, but do any of them work? Do any of them last?

Before Mike and I married, our kids got along great. They hung out, they played, they got along just fine.

But imagine our shock to the groans and questions of why, once we announced our engagement.

We were completely blindsided. What had happened? What was going on?

There was arguing, and now fighting. Nothing physical, but what the heck? Were they trying to separate us?

It was during this time were a riff had started.

We were told later, by a professional, that in the beginning they saw themselves as just friends, but as things grew more serious, they had become more like siblings. This was actually appropriate and normal behavior.

Who knew?

I tell you what, it sucked for me. Mike wasn’t loving it either.

We honestly, had no idea what we were getting into. Maybe if we were talking about two or three children, things would be different.

Maybe not.

But blending six from the ages of five to thirteen, who we later found out all but one had mental health issue to deal with as well, really just about took us down. (Butterfly, honey, you’re just a girl. There’s no pill for that.)

Oh my gosh, and once we got married, everything tripled! The tattling, the stealing, accusing, “That’s mine!”, “I didn’t do it!”, the laundry, the mess…it was hard on everyone.

It did not look good. It did not feel good.

But I had hope.

Not because my kids are perfect, or Mike’s kids are perfect, or that either one of us are perfect, but the one who we truly try to model our lives after, is.

Jesus, show me this can work. Guide us. Teach us how to honor you with our marriage and with our children.

Shortly after we were married, we started attending a new life group, from our church. As we went around the room and introduced ourselves, we met Ken and Penny; married for over 20 years and have five adult children. They’re grandparents, even!

And after that, through the same group, I met someone who introduced me to someone else who has blended SEVEN!

Since then, even more couples have become our friends, who have blended their own mess.

So I know we’re not alone! This does work! This can be honoring! We will make it!

Now, we’ve only been married for five years. That’s really no test of time, but our kids now get along again. In fact, sometimes feelings get hurt, because now they actually want to stay when it’s their time to go to their other parent’s house.

And where in the past we had to separate and mark what was who’s, they now share rooms.

Oh, and the mischief! I always said if they ever learned how to come together as a team, Mike and I wouldn’t stand a chance. Well, were there.

While, we are FAR from looking like The Brady Bunch, we’re looking much closer to Eight is Enough. Although, they weren’t really a blended family; they just got a new mom.

Which brings me back to Gamer and Smart. They have a mom, so who am I suppose to be? I’m still trying to figure that out.

I’m finding that’s an even slower process.

Immediately after Mike and I got married, Butterfly started calling him daddy. She asked if she could, before the wedding but we always told her she’d have to wait.

Smart called me mom, one time, but then was quickly reminded by his older brother, that he already had a mom and to not call me that.

It took Smart two years before he stopped calling me Miss. Kim and start calling me just Kim.

It’s OK. We’ll get it figured out. Mike is still figuring out where he stands with my boys too.

So, until then, I’ll just keep loving on them as much as they will let me. We’ve got time. And from what God has shown me, I’m not going anywhere.

I’ve seen the fruit of blended families. And it is sweet!

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Growing Beyond Lazy

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? – Matthew 25:26

I know, me personally, when it comes to following Jesus I get lazy. I don’t want to wander too far outside of my comfort zone.

However, when I have taken steps to move in that direction, I have been very happy with my results.

Every time I push myself, in the name of Jesus, I have never been let down. It encourages me to go again, and again, farther and farther, this time.

However, when it comes to my fitness routine, I find myself not only being lazy, but never exerting myself beyond what I think I can do. I work until gets hard. I work until it hurts. I work until I do what I set out to do, but not one more step beyond that.

I know my body can do more than what I push it to do. Just like I know I could do more for Jesus than I do. He not only calls me, he enables me too. Do I always do it? Nope. Because I get lazy.

I find when it comes to parenting, I am also just as lazy. I expect from my kids, what they have shown me they can do, or should I say what they are willing to do. But they whine and complain and it’s “easier” not to listen to them than to step up as a parent and ignore their excuses and demand their best. Well, because that would require more work on my half too.

But like me, I know they can do so much more.

So how do we teach our children to push on, to overcome, to not give up, to expect more?

I should expect more from them for starters. That would be a good start.

What if we pushed them beyond what they think they are capable of doing?

Would that not build their confidence as my stepping out in faith has built mine?

I want them to one day to be able to push themselves when there is no one else doing it for them.

I want them to continue on, when everyone else says they can’t.

And I want them to work to their potential; not to their comfort level.

I have a bunch of lazy kids. Kids who, like me, look for comfort. But growth doesn’t come from comfort.

It is through the pushing and the stretching and the going beyond what you thought you ever could.

It’s living through the pain and seeing you can still survive.

That’s what I want to teach my kids. That’s what I want to teach me.