November 05, 2015

What I Wished I Had Said: The Twenty/Twenty Hindsight Chronicles

Today's post is inspired by Mama KatTell us about something new you learned last month.

On Halloween, we gathered at Ruth's house for chili, hot dogs, and cheesecake.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM SETH:

"Grandma, you're not Mommy's mom. You're her stepmother. And you're my step-grandmother. Grandpa got divorced from Mommy's mom"                         (reason redacted). "And then he married YOU."

Yep, he had the facts straight. 

His telling of the history of my place in the family left me feeling LESS THAN. Diminished. I had the feeling that I lost status in the pecking order of the family as he (accurately) added the "step" designation before Grandma. Until then, I'd always been Grandma Kim. I felt like I got demoted; like I was no longer on the starting team, but was brought in from the bench as a substitute. I was at a loss for words as how to respond.

Seth was born in May, and I arrived on the scene in June. I've watched him grow and learn, and love spending time discussing things with him (as he is very smart, and is eager to share his knowledge). Although he said he wants to be "just like Daddy" when he grows up, he'd make a great lawyer - Seth can debate like nobody's business, always figuring out what the best angle to take. He is a great big brother to Russell and baby Beatrix. His one annoying flaw? The kid cheats at checkers. Never play checkers with him. Not ever.

After dinner, the grandkids (and the eternal child, The Boy) got ready to go trick or treating. As I sat and watched the costumed children knock on the door and call out "Trick or Treat", in my head, I was figuring out how I should have responded to Seth.

WHAT I WISHED I HAD SAID:

He has no idea how blessed I feel to have been here to see his life unfold, or how lucky I am to have entered into a family where I have felt welcome and accepted.

Although I knew that I was getting The Mister in this matrimonial deal, the gifts of affection, love, tolerance and inclusion that I have received from the entire family have been a tremendous blessing and have added such richness to my life.

I know I'm just a "step" (fill in the blank) - the thing is, they've never let me feel like I wasn't a part of the family chaos from the very beginning. I am not their mother - they already have a mother. I had the luxury of being a friend.

I am lucky and grateful and crazy about every one of them, whether they call me Mom, Kim, Grandma Kim, Step-Grandma Kim, or Hey, You.

WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE:

Most people are lucky if they have children - but I'm doubly blessed - in this marital "package deal", I gained three adult daughters who allowed me into their lives and into the lives of their families without reservation. I have three adult stepdaughters ('step' used only to indicate that I did not give birth to them) - and their spouses, and EIGHT grandchildren added to the package I arrived with.

The gifts I've received keep coming, and our relationships become more deep and rewarding with each passing year. 

I've doubled the number of children to love (from three to six), and had an 80% increase in grandchildren to spoil over the past seven years, for a grand total of 10 perfect grandchildren.

If that's not a good return on this investment, I don't know what is.

You should all be so blessed.



8 comments:

  1. Kim--As far as Seth and his checkers, My son is the best at strategy games. I could NEVER win at Pente or checkers or any game like that. Even as a young kid, he was unbeatable. To raise my son properly, I felt he needed to experience defeat occasionally. So I cheated at Monopoly... every time we played. (Silly him, he never wanted to be banker, so whenever he'd go the bathroom, I'd take some extra money.)

    Figure out something.

    I'm sure Seth didn't mean to diminish you or lessen the love he has for you. Kids open their mouths without thinking. It sounds like you're a lucky lady--kids and step-kids. (My daughter and son are half-siblings. I always joked, "Which half do you each claim? The top half? The bottom half? Right down the middle?" The terms are unimportant. The love? The support? The memories? That's a different story.)

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  2. Nothing hurts like the words of a child sometimes. But you are right - you are blessed, and your life has been enriched by their love and presence. And ultimately, they know just how blessed they are to have your love in return.

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  3. Kids love to figure out the "facts" and often feel very proud of themselves when they do. Don't take it as diminishment of you but as a boost to his own knowledge of the world around him. I'm willing to bet that loves you dearly with or without the "step".

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  4. So wonderful that you just fit into that family like a puzzle piece then never knew was even missing.

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  5. Oh no, you are not diminished in anyway. I agree that he just figured it out but that does not mean he loves you any less. You are certainly blessed with a big family.

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  6. I meant to tell you that I came over from Mama Kat's place.

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  7. The ultimate return on investment. YOU WIN!

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  8. My daughter was poking her "half"-brother. She is nine and he is twenty-two. She kept saying that I was not his mommy, I was HER mommy. He got a sad look on his face and I got really mad. I told her that her "half"-brother was as much my son as she was my daughter. I know she was testing some limit or mad at him for breaking up with his girlfriend or something. But it steamed me! I too feel blessed to have my extra kids.

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