Since I have been away for so long I thought I should post at least two entries for today. Maybe more….we will see how the day goes and how long both kids sleep for 😉 One thing that I always knew I would include as a post when I eventually started this blog, was a comment that my step-daughter made to me probably about two years ago about my daughter. I have carried around this comment knowing that I would one day want to talk about it and get other people’s advice on how they have handled situations like this but the truth is I think I will always carry around this comment just because of how much it hurt me. I know, it was not intentional on her part, she had no idea what she was even saying. But before I get to the comment…a little background.
My step-daughter lives full-time with her mother, step-father and half-sister who is about 7 months older than my daughter. And then she has us, her father (my husband) and her half-sister and half-brother. Before I continue, I do want to say that she really is one of the most awesome big sisters that I know. My daughter looks up to her in so many ways and the way she helps take care of them and guide and nurture them when she spends time with us is so heart-warming. My step-daughter and daughter resemble my husband A LOT and therefore resemble each other, A LOT!!!! As a side note, isn’t it kind of annoying how we do all the work and they get all the glory when the kids come out and grow up to resemble them more than us?!?!?! Ok, anyway….the point is, my step-daughter and daughter look very much like they could be full, biological siblings and that is not just my opinion….I hear it every year when we send out our Christmas cards and people have a chance to see all of the kids side by side and how they are continuing to grow and look so much like each other. And I hear it just about every time I am out with all of them together, so I know it’s not just me that thinks this. In fact, my step-daughter also thinks that she and my daughter look A LOT alike which brings me to the comment she made a couple years ago that cut right through me and has never left me since. One day I was out with them and my step-daughter said to my that it is funny how much her and my daughter look alike to which I replied, well you are sisters and you both look like Daddy so of course you both look alike. To which she replied, “Yea, but my real sister doesn’t even look like me as much as she does”…..
My heart absolutely broke a little that day and that break will never fully be healed. I know she’s just a kid….she was about 7 when she made this comment but how could she think like that???? My first angry thought was…what BS are they feeding her at home that she would think that, that sister was anymore of her sister than my daughter was to her. Do they refer to her other sister as her “real” sister and is that where she got it from??? I mean, kids just don’t come out with that kind of stuff, right?? What were they telling her at home that was shaping her thinking???? These were the thoughts running through my mind and then I calmed down. I took a step back and decided to turn this into a teachable moment. I will admit that many times when something like this happen I do get angry…I do overreact…and I do need to place blame and the easiest person to place that blame on is my step-daughter’s mother. She is the easiest one to blame in situations like this because I will not take it out on my step-daughter by yelling at her but someone needs to be held accountable right??? WRONG…to some degree!!! I have learned that sometimes, it isn’t even worth placing blame and it is just easier to try turn the situation into a positive or a learning experience and grow from there. That is by no means a justification of her behavior if she does in fact, refer to her daughter as my step-daughter’s “real” sister when comparing her to my daughter, but I don’t know for sure and I am not going to ask, so instead I rely on prayer and I believe in karma 😉
So, the part about getting angry, overreacting, placing blame, etc. I am working on this and if anyone reading this has support or kind words or coping strategies to help assist me….I am open. Thank you, in advance. Ok, so after I got over my initial anger and cleared my head, I addressed my step-daughter and tried to offer words that I hope will stay with her as she and my daughter grow together in life. I basically just told her that my daughter was no less of a sister to her than her other sister was. I told her that just because she lives with her other sister and sees her more of the time doesn’t mean that she is more her sister than my daughter is. I went on to describe how her and her other sister have the same mother but different dads and how her and my daughter have the same father but different moms and they are both, in fact….half sisters to her. But I also went on to describe how we don’t really refer to each other as one’s half-sibling. I told her that both girls were her sisters and even though my daughter and her may look more alike than her and her other sister….they were still both her sisters.
So, how did I do??? I tried to put it in words that were on her level developmentally and not bring any of my own feelings into it. I think she got it that day. I never heard her refer to her other sister as her “real” sister again after that day and I could tell by the look on her face that she really didn’t understand at all that what she was saying could be hurtful. But it did hurt and I carry it with me to this day. Because of that comment, I worry that my daughter won’t grow up to have the sister relationship that she should have with her (currently and not yet sure if that will ever change) only sister. I grew up with a sister and I want nothing more than for my daughter to experience that sisterly bond. I always wonder if their relationship will be affected because they don’t get to spend as much time together as sisters should. I wonder if the quality of the time they spend together will be enough to cancel out the possible negative effect of all the time they don’t spend with each other. I can’t predict the future, all I can do is plan for it and right now that plan for this particular situation, is to focus on the quality of the time they do spend together. And…I pray.
Any thoughts, opinions, advice for situations like this would be much appreciated.
One hopeful step-mom, trying to deal with some “real” blended family issues. XOXO