“Who will walk the girls down the aisle when they marry?” I cringed at the awkward conversation my ex-husband had started. Concerned about the relationship that had developed between my two daughters and their stepdad, Randy, my ex-husband raised the question. “We will do what the girls want to do,” Randy replied. A brilliant response, I thought.
Fast forward ten years later. My daughter, Jodi, married this past weekend. A few months before the wedding, Jodi approached the subject with Randy. “Dad, I’d like you to walk me down the aisle. You’re the one who’s been there for me.”
My steady-Eddie. That’s what I call my husband. Randy has walked through the good and the ugly with my two girls. Temper tantrums, sassy attitudes, adolescent meltdowns, controlling boyfriends, parking lot fender-benders, late night phone calls, teenage drama, failing grades, bad decisions, and so much more.
Randy never walked away. He wanted to. He talked about it a few times. But perseverance won out.
And now… after 20 years of stepparenting, an unexpected blessing.
Well-deserved by a man who’s given unselfishly to his stepdaughters.
Not perfectly, however. Randy will be the first to tell you he’s done a lot of things wrong as a stepdad. But the girls see his heart. As young adults, they recognize his well-meaning intentions.
I know it doesn’t always happen this way. Stepfamily weddings can be awkward and less-than-joyous. If you’ve experienced that with your stepchildren, I’m sorry.
But there are blessings amidst the challenges of stepparenting.
Simple things. A smile from across the room. A request for your opinion on a sensitive issue. A light-hearted evening that includes laughter and hugs with your stepchild.
Your blessings will look different than mine. Or my husband’s. Sometimes they’re disguised and hard to find.
Expect them. Look for them.
Live in the now. Experience the joy of today. Don’t hold onto regret or I-wish-it-were-different.
Above all, let grace and mercy prevail in your home.
And you’ll find your own unexpected blessings of stepparenting.
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3, NIV).
What unexpected blessing have you experienced as a stepparent? Will you share it in the comments? I’d love to hear from you.