Stepfamily is not a bad word!
It seems now is time for a little good news. Okay, maybe anytime is time for a little good news. But I digress.
I want to tell you a stepfamily story.
About a month ago, I picked up my granddaughter Adaline from preschool and we headed to see my 14 year old niece to play Barbies. This was a scheduled visit. I knew that my niece had some free time and it coincided with the time that my granddaughter would be off from school.
We met up for lunch (always a treat with a 2.75 year old!), grabbed milkshakes for dessert, then piled in the car and headed for our destination: Barbie central. But things never go as planned. The little one spilled her milkshake and my niece was tasked with helping clean up the mess.
Picture me in the front seat driving. Adaline in her car seat in the back seat passenger side. Jillian right behind me in the back seat. That's when this conversation happened.
ME: Jillian, remember this when you decide you want to have children! Lots of work. Lots of work. Actually, forget that. Don't think about it. You are too young to think about it. Forget I said anything. There are more paper towels in the 3rd row.
JILLIAN: Actually I've kind of already thought about it.
(Adaline mindlessly singing Frozen songs at this point.)
ME: You have? Well, since you've already thought about it, give me your thoughts.
JILLIAN: First, I don't think I want to give birth.
ME: I think that is a valid way of thinking. I think there are a number of women who don't feel compelled to give birth for any number of reasons.
JILLIAN: But I still want kids.
ME: What does that look like for you?
JILLIAN: I was thinking I would adopt or foster. Or I would be happy with a stepfamily. It's really worked out for us.
PEOPLE, I SWEAR TO YOU THAT THE HEAVENS PARTED AND THE ANGELS SANG!!!!!!!
Can you imagine any person, no less, a young person, saying that she could see herself with a stepfamily???? How is that possible??
I can actually explain how that's possible.
The little girl sitting beside Jillian in that car seat is not biologically related to her. But they love each other and enjoy playing together. Jillian's "Paw" is not biologically related to her but he is her grandpa. Jillian's cousins (my stepchildren) are not biologically related to her but they have been in her life since she was born.
She doesn't see a stepfamily when she looks at the people around her. She sees her family.
Y'all cannot know what this does for a stepmom's heart.
When I married my husband, I had the experience of having been a stepchild. The task ahead was daunting but I had seen it work. I knew it could be done and could be done well. Now, I get to see the results of a second generation stepfamily. (Is that a thing? I just made it one.)
I tell you this little stepfamily story to say, "In these uncertain times, be certain of this...Yes, you can. Yes, it works. Yes, people are watching and being inspired by the families that you are creating."
Let's keep on keeping on.