STEP-DAD.net

What I’ve learned about being a Step-dad

Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Last Day of School & First Day of Work

Ah, remember those days sitting in the classroom with everyone including the teacher staring at the wall clock waiting for that final bell to ring, the sweat dripping from your forehead and back because the AC wasn’t on.  And all you can think about is getting out for the ENTIRE summer.  Tic toc tic toc tic toc…  The seconds just keep plucking away, and you finally realize just how much time you spend in each classroom.  And finally it happens, the bell rings.  You run out to your locker, pull everything out and dump it on the floor and head for the door.  We were all set up for disappointment it seems…  My office for one doesn’t break for summer.  I can’t pull the contents of my desk and office and toss it on the floor.  Nope, I’m here day in and day out, no summer break but for a single week when I’ve accrued the adequate time to take a small vacation.  So what better way to save our kids from this disappointment than to send them off to work themselves.  It may seem a little cruel to take away a summer of nothing but fun for these kids, but think about it this way.  Do you remember how good it felt when you paid for something with your own hard earned cash, something you wanted, and something you worked for?  I want to give the opportunity for this feeling to my kids, so they will work through their summers.  Sure, I’ll still help them however they need, but if they can do it on their own they’ll feel much better about it.  It all comes down to that old fisherman tail “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man too fish and he’ll eats for a lifetime”.

Now working is great and I’m all for them paying their own way with things.  But…  and it’s a big but.  The opportunity to volunteer their time is better.  Sure, they don’t get paid, but they get an experience and an even better feeling of accomplishment than getting paid can ever give you.  Now remember last week I told you how we go to the library every weekend.  Well, my 17 year old got a volunteer job at the library.  She goes for an hour a day to help out.  Of course she’d be there an hour a day if not more anyway, but that’s not that important.  What is important is the sense of responsibility and the willingness to follow through on those responsibilities.  This is good for me too, because when I was her age guess where I worked?  Yup, at the library.  Of course I wasn’t volunteering, I got paid, but still.  The point is that it’s something we share in common, something we can talk about and share stories about.  It’s all about finding those little things that you can bond with them on.  And you’ll find that to be a common theme in all my posts, finding a way to make every experience a bonding one.

There’s another saying that comes to mind when we think of Summer time for kids out of school…  but before I share it let me say, I’m not one of those crusading Christians or anything, as a matter of fact I’m actually a Wicca (but more on that later).  Now here it is “Idle hands do the devils work”.  What I mean is that if they’ve got things to do than they don’t have time to get themselves into trouble.  Of course my kids are perfect so I don’t have to worry about that…  yeah right. Given enough idle time and boredom kids can find ways to do stupid things even if they’re the most brilliant minds you’ve met. Not that I have any experience with that…

(Step) Father’s Day

Father’s Day.  It’s a big deal for all the dads out there, and a huge question mark for all us step fathers.  We’re never quite sure where we fit into the father’s day puzzle. Sure, we celebrate Fathers, Grand Fathers, God Fathers, but do we celebrate Step Fathers?  All the others have been there since day one, but we step fathers…  We haven’t.

I remember celebrating father’s day with my father.  Every year my school had these little flea market type things in the cafeteria the week of Fathers day and Mothers day.  And every year my mother or father would have to give me a few dollars to buy a gift at the flea market for the other on their respective day.  Eventually those days passed and we had to start remembering these things on our own.  By the time I started to remember and prepare for father’s day, my reason for celebrating it at all was gone.  There were still plenty of other people celebrating the day, and I often found myself wishing a happy father’s day to people that weren’t my father.  So I got used to the idea of celebrating a father’s day for someone that wasn’t my father before my own step father came along.  Of course once he did, it was a bit awkward.  It was like starting all over again; my mother would constantly have to remind me that its father’s day and that I should get something for Pop.  Of course some of that had to deal more with my own teenage selfishness, but it also had to deal with the idea that Pop was now the father I should be celebrating.  Like I’ve said before he is a good guy, and worth the celebration, I just wasn’t sure what to do.  Eventually though I got over it.  Sure these days I’m being reminded of these dates by others, but that’s more because I’m a forgetful person and not a teenager dealing with his selfish phase.

Over the last 13 years now, I’ve actually been celebrated on father’s day by my nephew who I’m the God Father too.  But this past year was the first Fathers day that was celebrated for me where I was the actual father.  The little one enjoys celebrating anything as long as she gets some sweets.  The then 16 year old however was a different story.  She wasn’t all that interested in the day at all.  Not because she’d rather spend it with someone else, but more seemingly because she didn’t know who or why to celebrate it at all.  This year however, I hope she’ll know and want to celebrate.

The big thing to remember here is this.  You can’t expect it.  You can’t want it.  You can’t even wish it.  Father’s day is about other people recognizing you for the father you are.  This isn’t something we can force.  It’s either appreciated or it isn’t.  So my suggestion to all you step parents out there who aren’t sure what to do on Sunday, just be happy if they try to do anything, even the smallest remembrance is worth it.  And don’t forget the bio father has been celebrating this day with them since the day they were born.  Traditions are necessary and shouldn’t be touched by us step parents, ever.  We have a strange job, us step parents.  We have to nurture not only the relationship between the step children and ourselves, but also the rest of the family (including the bio-father, or bio-mother).