That’s pretty much the theme of life and love, isn’t it? You can’t enjoy those beautiful, significant moments without the whirlwind of chaos, just like poor air quality creates the most beautiful sunsets.
I get lost in that whirlwind sometimes, especially as a Spoonie, which I am not using as an excuse, but as an explanation. I quite simply can’t do everything for myself like I used to, or even kept trying to do for years, and rely on my little family to see the beautiful things going on around me when I’ve been stuck in an illness spiral. And the eye of this storm is so wonderful, exciting, and bittersweet. The senior got scouted and is headed to college in August!
I knew that becoming a stepmother would be one of the most miraculous events and journeys of my life, but had no concept of how much I could all ready love these guys, or that I’d actually feel the horrible “empty nest” syndrome I’ve heard others talk about. We’ve spent a lot of hours talking and trying to help K find his next path, and with a scholarship and starting a new Rugby team, he will be headed off to OK in weeks. I’m not overly sporty or outdoorsy, so it’s been an adventure to support a stepson who is, and I won’t miss the sunburns or lack of restrooms on Saturdays. *grin* Man will I miss him though. Even with the coparenting meaning he only lives with us every other week, it’s like this darkness is waiting on the horizon when we will only get to see him for big events and trips. I am so incredibly proud of the character he has developed and shown, of how much he has pushed himself to get past the hurdles the pandemic created with his education, and how thoughtfully he approached his options. (All right, almost drove us bonkers with the decision being so close to graduation, but he made sure it was the right fit for the path he wants to travel next, so I couldn’t be more proud that he waited to know for sure. *smile*)
While he’s a typical young man, he’s also incredibly insightful, observant, and driven. No matter how I feel that day, if he comes in to chat with me (wild, right?! *grin* What a gift! A teenager/then young man who wants to spend time chatting with his stepmother!), I always feel so blessed to have that experience. He’s helped me learn a lot about myself and see my life experiences differently, I’ve seemed to help give him an outlet to discuss his goals and thoughts, and with the signature toss of his hair and a smirking smile, I suddenly have more emotional strength to get through whatever I’m struggling with.
I figured with joining his life at the end of his teenage years he wouldn’t have much to do with me and had low expectations honestly. The blessings are all the sweeter for being so unexpected. I know there’s a big distinction for him of me being his stepmother or his dad’s wife, and knew I’d never step into an actual parenting role with him, but he actually let me in. He waited and observed, and when he realized that I wanted to do my best for them and his dad, he let us create our own little family with him, instead of my staying on the outside due to the past having too much of a hold still. And I made sure to document as many happy moments in our lives for him; before and with me in it.
I’ve been working on one of his graduation gifts for some time now, although primarily gathering things until now. For his 18th birthday I gave him the first scrapbook I made of his childhood. I pestered his family for pictures and dates things took place, so I could document in chronological order, and told him that he’s receive the rest after graduation. Little did any of us know that this would result in 5 more binder scrapbooks! *laugh* The second part of his childhood is done and in the second binder. Then from the time I started dating their father through current, I have 2 scrapbooks per year. SMH *laughing* It’s been my mission to make sure he had these albums to remind him of his journey, of those that love him, and of his adventures. Not the typical gift for a young man, but the most meaningful I could think of. So. Many. Pictures. *grin* I am a bit embarrassed that our Thanksgiving trip fills almost an entire binder itself, between pictures of the exhibits, of the events we went to, and candid moments. I knew it would be the last time we had a family trip with this family dynamic though and wanted to capture all that I could.
I don’t often share a lot about the guys since I’m careful with their privacy, since someday they may not like that their stepmom blogged about them to the public, but my cup runneth over and I want to share this incredible joy. It’s been a rough time to be a Spoonie, these past few months, but this is my happy moment for this month. It may be bittersweet to miss out on more of this time together, yet I don’t think I could be more proud if he was biologically mine.
I never knew that being a stepmom could be so beautiful or help teach me to look for moments to focus on outside of the sick side of my life. I also never knew I could love two young men so very much, especially when I’m used to a sedate world and they are a sometimes overwhelming whirlwind of chaos, joy, exasperation, shenanigans, and those first-time experiences of growing up. I know I’ll look like Rudolph from crying when we leave him at the university this summer, but this is truly one of the happiest moments I’ve ever been blessed to be part of. And it gives this Spoonie more courage to face the sometimes endless nights and scary doctor visits. Spoonies deserve happy chaos and this Spoonie can’t wait to see what amazing paths this young man takes in his journey into adulthood. *happy sigh* Let’s not think ahead to what it’ll be like when J nears the end of his next 7 years. Holy Scooby Snacks will I be even more of a basket case then! *laugh* In the meantime, SNU is lucky to be getting one of my favorite people. *smile*