Steps to Super Step Parentingby dana ventling lich
I always believed that I would have children of my own, but as it turned out, either God, fate or both had another plan. After waiting 45 long years, I finally married the love of my life—a true “package deal” as Alan had two daughters aged 13 and 11. Suddenly I was a “Step Mom.” Questions flooded my mind such as: What is my role? What does my husband and his daughters expect of me? They already have a good mother—what can I provide for them? Will they think of me as the wicked stepmother? What would Julia Roberts do (and where can I rent that movie “Step Mom” that she starred in)?
In the girl’s eyes, this new person had suddenly “stepped in” to their space and invaded their comfort zone. Therefore, the first thing for us all to do was to take time to basically get to know each other. So we all hung out together doing family stuff—playing, eating, biking, camping, laughing, and…just being.
I certainly didn’t want to “overstep” any boundaries the girls may have nor “step” on their mother’s toes, so I decided I’d better “step out” slowly, which meant that the next best thing to do would simply be available and supportive to them. Therefore, I did my best to attend every basketball and volleyball game or music performance that they had—if they looked out at the audience, doggone it, they’d better see me.
Step by Step:
Nearly three years have passed and I feel that I have two new life long friends. We joke around and I assist them with their homework whenever they ask. I have helped teach them how to ski and drive and they have taught me how to be more patient and hip.
Step it Up:
Now that our friendship feels more secure, my desire is that someday I can also provide a mentorship role. They are quickly entering their high school years—their bodies are changing, their minds are sharpening, their social calendars are crammed full, and boys are starting to take notice of them. I share more openly about filling out and making out, in addition to the importance of positive relationships and potential scholarships.
Stepping back, I realize that the blessing they’ve been to me than far surpasses the influence I have hoped to have on them. Stepping forward, I anticipate the day they come back home to visit, healthy and happy with children of their own…and I can eventually become a Super Step Grandma!
Dana Ventling Lich is married with two step-children and lives in Laurel.