Step-Grands: Put the Past in the Past

Step-Grands: Put the Past in the Past

Are you the child of a blended family who wasn’t treated so well by your stepparent during your childhood? As you grow up and have your own children, it may feel natural to lash out at that stepparent, to prevent your own children from enjoying a healthy relationship with him or her. But the past is the past. And your children may miss out if you hold a grudge.

Time Heals And Changes

Take my husband, for example. When he was very young, his father left his mother and siblings and started a new family with a woman with whom he’d been having an affair for years. Eventually six children total were born between the two women – a full sister and brother for my husband, a half-sister and brother, and a stepbrother. My husband and his full siblings grew up enjoying the time they spent at their father’s home with their other siblings, but they never felt totally welcome by their stepmom, who seemed (to them) to play favorites with her own children.
It just seemed as though she would’ve been happier if they had just disappeared.
As the years passed, their relationships began to transform. When my husband’s mother became sick with cancer, his stepmom seemed to have a change of heart towards her and, at the same time, changed how she treated all of their children, whether her own or not.
So, when I entered the picture, I heard childhood stories, but they didn’t really tally with the woman I knew, who made it a point to include us equally with her own kids. In fact, she was the one who gave my husband the gentle nudge (i.e. strong push) to propose marriage to me so that I could be included on their family vacation that year. And we were her only children to have our wedding at their beautiful home, with much help from her.

New Relationships, New Dynamics

When my son was born about five years ago, he seemed to have a special bond with his step-grandmother from Day One. She has always made it a point to invite him for special weekends at her place, to take him on fun adventures, and to send him sweet cards that he loves to receive. Dare I say (don’t tell the other grandparents, but I think they already suspect), my son’s favorite grandparent is my husband’s once (sort of) evil stepmom.
And then, when I became sick with a brain tumor, my husband’s stepmom, who is a retired nurse, stepped right in to help take care of me and my family, my husband included. Having his stepmom and father, both members of the medical community, to lean on for knowledge, support, and to get the nicest hospital room, helped us through a very difficult time.
I don’t know what we would do without her. But things could have easily been different. If my husband was a less forgiving soul, one more likely to hold a grudge, we wouldn’t have the relationship that we enjoy with his stepmom now. And our kids (and us) would really be missing out.

Strive To Be The Bigger Person

My husband’s stepmom has invited my husband’s mother on every holiday and important gathering that I can remember. I will admit, especially as a divorce lawyer, it is interesting to see his father sitting at the head of the table with Wife Number 1 on one side and Wife Number 2 on the other, but we make it work. And just a few months ago, the two women actually went on vacation together and even shared a room.
I mean, if you think about it, I guess they have a lot in common!
The point is, people change, and there is no point in holding a grudge. You’ll only miss out on relationships that could be amazing. Always strive to be the bigger person who puts the past in the past and forgives others for their mistakes. Because no one is perfect, and we’re all continually learning.

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About this week’s author, Lori Skipper.

Lori received her Juris Doctor with honors from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in December 2004, from which she graduated with honors. Proud to be a Florida Gator, Lori had also attended the UF as an undergraduate, graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, as well as a Minor in Education. Choosing her law school focus early, as a student member of the Virgil B. Hawkins Civil Clinic, Lori assisted indigent clients with family law issues.

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