I have four children. Three of which I gave birth to in the usual manner, the first, our oldest, was delivered to me through my heart. She is my step-daughter.
Becoming a step-parent is a fairly common experience, but I found there was very little help navigating this often rocky terrain. I was lucky enough to come into B’s life when she was a toddler, and even though I was inexperienced with children and therefore painfully naive, she taught me how to parent. B was my learning ground and the lesson was love. This beautiful, engaging little tot loved me.
Her mother and I danced around each other. She wasn’t exactly thrilled about my place in B’s life, but in time, I believe, she came to see the value in it. Or maybe she just got over it and moved on. When B was a child we had the obligatory pick up and drop off sites. While we discussed the weekend’s events and future schedules, B reacted to the energy rocketing between us with agitation. Our bright spark was shining her light on our darkness.
I’m often asked about raising B in terms of discipline. After all, isn’t this her parent’s arena? Again, I took my cues from B: love and the occasion for discipline will naturally unfold. Her enthusiasm and infectious joy taught me to embrace her fully as my own. Love doesn’t have limitations.
I’ve had the opportunity to share B’s life and watch her become a beautiful young woman, and I am humbled by the experience. I try to always remember her lessons: the immediacy of what’s happening right now, enthusiasm for the odd detail often overlooked, joy for the sake of joy, an open spirit when engaging new acquaintances, love is the answer, the only answer we need.
Our bright spark infected all of us with her light.