I refer to step-parenting as step-up parenting because I think that any time someone takes the responsibility of sharing the life of a child, they are really stepping up as decent people. And step-parents do not get nearly enough credit for the work they do and the sacrifices they make. Yes, there are poor step-parents, just like there are poor parents, but the majority of them are doing their best and going above and beyond.
I met Valarie when she was six years old. I was in a relationship with her father, and was fortunate enough to become her unofficial step-mother. When he and I ended our relationship, she was eleven years old, and I knew I couldn’t sever the relationship. She is now eighteen and our relationship continues, with me in a godmother/aunt/stepfather role. I have learned so much from her – about parenting and about myself, just from helping to raise her – she has helped me on my journey to self-discovery and life, and I hope I have helped her on hers.
A lot of interesting things have happened since that first meeting; problems with her family, helping her grow up, games we invented, school, her father, applying for college, Prom, and now, graduation. When I began to care for her I couldn’t really find much help or information about step-parenting in terms of books and websites and there still isn’t much out there, which is surprising when you consider that the blended family is almost the most common type of family there is. I think its time to start writing about it.
Books and Sites: