The other day I was at the store with Jason and the boys. Caleb had to go the restroom, so I walked to the back of the store with him and waited outside the door. It was a small store and there were only two one-person restrooms. While I was standing there, a woman came up and asked me if I was waiting in line. I quickly and politely responded “Oh no, go ahead. I’m just waiting for my _____ […long thoughtful pause; welcome to the inner workings of my brain… the correct answer to fill in the blank is technically “step-son”, but that sure doesn’t sound right. I can’t say “husband’s son”. Even though that answer is also true, it makes me sound distant and almost burdened by the son, and that’s definitely not true. At this point I’m realizing that this woman is no longer paying attention to me, nor does she care what the fill-in-the-blank riddle will conclude with. She just needs to use the bathroom. Things are getting weird now, so I panic and throw out the first thing I can think of…] --friend.”
This is Jacob and Caleb...
As I already said, they are amazing kids. They are respectful, loving, and have always made me feel welcome. We are great friends, and we enjoy each other’s company. But can I leave my role at just that? Is that healthy? How do I define my role without stepping on the toes of pre-existing roles? They have a mother, and she is very present and wonderful to them. She has a role that is hers alone.
In a lot of ways I think that I am better equipped for this situation than anyone possibly could be. Not due to anything that I’ve done, but rather how I was raised. I grew up in a blended family, and I have no doubt that my parents set the perfect example of how to get it right. I was 5 when my mom married again, and I am so thankful for the blessings that followed. I gained not only a step-dad, but also 2 step-brothers. My step-dad is amazing, and I love him very much. He filled every role expected from the head-of-the-house, but not once did I ever feel that he wanted to take a role that belonged to my father. He was respectful of my dad and his place in my life and in my heart. I never felt like I was forced to choose sides. I never had divided loyalties. I never heard a bad thing said about either one of them, from either one of them. I have no doubt that God intentionally gave me the life He did, and placed me where I am now for a reason.
I may have a lot of learning to do still, and a lot of role to define still, but I feel ok. I am well-equipped and well-loved, and am confident that all will be well. And until I figure it all out (if ever I do), I think I’m ok being “friend”. Or maybe the next time someone asks me if I’m in line at the bathroom, and I can just simplify to “Oh no, go ahead.”