I am a stepmom.
If it sounds like I’m introducing myself at an AA meeting, that isn’t so far from how it feels. These words require work for me to own, and they don’t come easily out of my mouth. After all, in the wonderful world of Disney, the stepmother is generally not the heroine of the film. The words wicked and evil come to mind when looking for adjectives to describe her.
I confess there are times when I avoid saying the word step before mom simply because the minute a woman says those words, she is announcing that she’s not really the mom. She’s just the fill-in when the child is staying in her home. But since Jordan’s mom lives in Australia, approximately 85 percent of the time my stepson is “staying” in our home. Nevertheless, when push comes to shove in the parenting lineup, I am Mom number two.
Perhaps you have a situation in your life where the immediate view tempts you to feel insignificant in your role. Reframing your situation with the big view lens might reveal that your role is more important than you can see. If I dwell on my understudy position in Jordan’s life, I am tempted to fade in the background behind my husband, because he carries the biological seed that solidifies permanence. My role feels insignificant. And the more I say that, the smaller I get.
Then I look at the power I have. As the mom Jordan is mostly exposed to, there are big things happening in our relationship— the things I say and do will help construct the man he is becoming. My words and actions have the power to put wind in his sails and to fan into flame his gifts. The deposits I make every day in his life will be part of who he becomes.
Seeing the big picture brings a focus to our lives and enables us to see the heroic in the mundane. We recognize that every sacrifice we make, no matter how small it feels, may be setting off a chain reaction that can change another person’s life. Recognizing the weight of our actions brings a significance to our lives that can inspire us to live differently. But we must see ourselves as part of something much bigger in order to live this significance out.
(adapted from Chapter 2 in my new book, When Changing Nothing Changes Everything. For more information visit this link: http://amzn.to/2mQsyA8)