June 29, 2012

Step to it - Part 1

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It did not really take me a long time to get used to being a step parent.  Maybe because I've known Ashley since she was 2, or maybe because mine and Dave's relationship was so S-L-O-W moving (in a good way) or maybe because we spent a lot of time together before the whole marriage thing, or maybe just because?

The point is, I am a step parent.  A stepmother.  Which means everyday of my life I ask myself, "OMG am I an evil stepmother?!?"  Sometimes maybe I am.  The majority of the time I hope I am not.  Usually I think of myself as her same age, because I totes act like it (Carly Rae anyone?  Dancing crazy to One Direction?  No?  Adults don't do that?!)  Sorry Ash, I probs embarrass you to heck and back!  Honestly, though, it could be worse.  See?  I even talk like a teen, how weird.  Most stepmothers have a reeeeeally bad reputation, like Cinderella's...yikes.

Here she is now with Dave.  She's 13.

Here she is with me, many moons ago.  I think she is 7 here!

Here she is at 5...where did the time go??

I've never been a mother before.  Well, except to Frodo, but he is a cat.  I have no base to compare being a mom to being a step mom.  It's amusing to me that I will have raised a teenager before I have raised a toddler, but, like most parents of newborns, I have no clue what I am doing.  Only it's with a 13 year old.  I do find that I am leaning on how my parents raised me a lot.  I find myself saying things like, "1 or 2 C's is acceptable, but no more than that..." and I hear my father.  Or, "Did you really clean that bathroom floor?  Because I still see dirt..." and my mothers face and all-knowing look comes to mind.  It's sort of hilarious!  It's definitely a fun job, and it is rewarding.  I can only imagine what more kids will do to me, and her too, but hopefully we will all adjust nicely!

Ashley is at that age though where we are constantly wondering what is going on in that head of hers.  Is she happy, does she hate us yet, does she ever have questions and just not ask us, does she fight with friends?  Recently I've thought about what got me through my teen years and to be honest, I think it was my friends and tv/movies and books and really just living life and figuring it all out one crazy day at a time.  Ashley's situation is so different than mine.  She has two homes, two rooms, two sets of parents, two sets of families on both sides...she's split in so many ways.  She is luckier than most kids I think though, because she has so many adults in her life that love and care about her.

As she travels through what can be described as the most stormy-but-fun-wild-and-crazy time of her life, I wanted to get her a few books to help her through.  She doesn't ask a lot of questions (really, you could though!) or talk about a lot of her friendship situations (again, you could!) so Dave & I don't know if she has questions or needs advice or wants to talk or whatever.  Although, I remember being that way too.  As a teen, you don't realize that your parents/step parents have been through most situations before, and probably have a good bit of advice for you.  As a teen, you also don't want your parents advice, lol, because parents are lame and embarassing, and really don't know a thing (it's not true though!!  We are totally awesome!)  Anyways, one book my mom got me as a teenager was this one:

Yes it is super cool and so 80's or 90's!  But I loved this book, I read every juicy morsel about growing up and being a girl!  So I guess my mom know a thing or two about a thing or two, because I think that book helped me a ton, when someone at school that was more "worldly" than I was and said something I really didn't know about or understand, I'd make a mental note to see if it was talked about in this book.  It was.  I never sat and read it cover to cover, I flipped through it as I needed to know more about boobs or fights with friends or periods or whatever.  I never knew really how much it taught me until now though...

...because I bought the same book for Ashley!  It's new and improved and has been updated a few times.  I actually read it almost cover to cover tonight and laughed out loud at how much of it I had memorized, or I got to parts of the book where I'd say, "Oh that is where I read about that or that is why I say that!"  It was a fun trip to the past.  I think it's a great book for girls, and it's written for 11 to 18 year old girls so it covers a really great array of topics.

I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.  I've been looking for books for her to read over the summer, we sort of have a routine down for her to read and do some school work over these few months to keep her brain active.  Because if we don't, it'll turn to mush with TV and cell phones.  When I was her age, I was still out playing with friends, running around the neighborhood or splashing around in the creek in our woodsy area.  Being active, being creative, choosing to read for fun, etc. Teens today don't do that stuff anymore, FYI.  They are home bodies and techy savvy.  If we didn't make her look up from the tv/laptop/cell phone screen, I am not sure she would!  So hopefully this book will entice her to read;)

This whole thing just makes me feel like a parent.  I've always known that I AM a step parent, but knowing I am and feeling like one are a little different.  Ashley has 2 perfectly great parents, her dad and her mom.  I sorta fit in the background, not replacing either one ever, but not just another adult in her life either.  It's a comfortable position, for all of us I think.  When I read through this book though, I kept thinking...this is so "parenty" of me!  LOL!  With her being a teenager now, and the woman in our household, I know my role is important.  Teens...they watch everything, they learn, they base their decisions and their actions off our lives.  That is really scary to me!  I'm such a nut case!!  So, at least when I am not the best role model, or can't answer a question, or she doesn't want to ask (let's face it, most of the stuff teens what to know and ask they would never ask us because it's 100% embarassing) she has a place to go to that can give her a straight answer and be good enough to get her through.

My only issue with this book?  The author isn't a Christian.  So, some of our very important views on very important and serious topics are not the same.  I went through and added some scripture and notes in those parts, just because I think it's important for Ashley to know where we stand and where we hope she stands too one day.  Overall I think it was a good choice for her summer reading plan.

Look at me?  Being all parenty!  I guess it's good for me, since we are thinking about having more, soon.  But that is a whole other topic...

See?  We are all so goofy, it's hard to tell who the teenager is?  ;)