As my 7- year old son was lounging around before dinner, he handed me a piece of pad paper folded into four. I opened it and expected that it was another of his love notes. He was fond of writing me and his dad short letters professing his love and gratefulness. It read, “Dead Mom and Dad, I am sorry for making you mad but I love you very much.” It was a short note meant to tug a mother’s heart. I scooped him up and gave him a big kiss and said thanks.
When his dad arrived for dinner, he eagerly got the note from me and gave it to his dad. My husband smiled and unabashedly, he threw the note aside! I was horrified and my son was perplexed. His dad announced,”I don’t like it when you write your letters to me!” I stared at him madly as my heart was ready to break for my son. “Why??”, my son simply asked. “You always put Mom ahead of Dad in your letter. Dear Mom and Dad, dear mom and dad…”, my husband answered. I sighed, knowing that my husband was playing around but I was also thinking of how my son would understand what his dad meant. I was concerned with how it would not affect his drive to write letters like that. But my son stared at him and simply replied, “Don’t you remember Dad…it’s ladies first! That’s why Mom is always first.” That made my husband laugh and forget about his attempt to play around. I smiled silently, witnessing that it was he, my husband who was played.
Innocently witty answers from children make adults proud at the very least expected moments. This was one of that moments.
This is my third published post in this blog. As I am getting my way around blogging, I was able to visit some blogs at random. I found a few that were really personal, well maintained, updated and alive, literally. Most random blogs I came across with were “dormant.” There were a few that displayed excellent writing but I found that their last post was actually a year ago. And they haven’t gotten around to updating their blog.
I started this and I wouldn’t want to end up that way. Of course, there are valid reasons as to why personal blogs just fade away. But I have just began. It was a personal decision to start a blog. And it should take personal reasons as well to make me decide to end this. Lack of time, lack of access and the like — it should take more than that. To ensure that this blog grows with me, I’m writing a list of the reasons for doing this. Maybe, this will remind me months from now, years from now why I decided to start a blog, in the first place.
Ten Reasons Why I Started A Blog
1. Because I want to write
2. Because I want to write well
3. Because I want to reflect on myself and the world
4. Because I want to try to write honest thoughts in a public domain
5. Because I want to share my thoughts
6. Because I want to know if someone would “listen” to my thoughts
7. Because I want to know how a blog actually works
8. Because I want to “listen” to other thoughts
9. Because I am intrigued at how far across the world your thoughts can actually be heard
10. Because I want to be validated outside the domestic sphere I live in
So there. When things really get hazy in my blogging phase, it would be nice to look at this again. As I have faithfully decided to blog, it should take faith and personal reasons for me to decide to end this too.
I am a stepmother. For almost eight years, I have been and I will be for the rest of my life.
Days ago, I attended my stepdaughter’s Parent Teacher conference. Her grades were good enough. Not excellent, but okay. Her teacher adviser told me how she thought my stepdaughter was a well behaved young lady. She talked of how she was a doting older sister to her little brother (my biological son). She smiled warmly at me while she told me of anecdotes of her kindness in the classroom. This isn’t the first time that my daughter was praised by a teacher or my friends. (I don’t call her stepdaughter. To me, she is a daughter but for first timers who ask about my children, there is a need to say such.) Every time she is praised and I am told of her goodness, I can’t stop the tears welling up in my eyes. In this case, I looked down to hide them so Teacher Lynn couldn’t see them. I was mighty proud of her. It felt good to hear that my daughter is appreciated for her kindness. I never realize how she grew up to be that way. But with the eight years that she has been with me, I must have done something right. I don’t need people to know about my step parenting deeds. It is enough that to myself, I feel I am doing okay with her.
My close friends would tell me at times, “I like the way I see you two together. It’s so natural.” I would just smile. When I non chalantly mention to some that my daughter is actually not my biological daughter but a step daughter, I get faces of bewilderment. It was like the burden was on them! I secretly laugh at their reaction and immediately shift to another topic to talk about to ease their discomfort.
I get a lot of praises for my daughter and it’s something I really treasure. But while this happens, I also wonder, “Can you be a better step parent than a biological parent?” With your own child, the emotional lines are blurred. And being irrational is at hand. With a step child, one can be more objective. Emotions can be contained and when there is a tendency for them to blur, you can ask for the help of the ‘real’ parent. And then they come to the rescue.
Whatever the answer is, I know that all children need love and caring and compassion. How I have come to be comfortable in raising my daughter — it’s about loving. Though I am not her natural mother, loving her — that came naturally. And that — I cannot explain.
Yesterday, I had to go on a trip to my dermatologist. I barely ate breakfast as I rushed and knew I was going to be hungry along the way. I muttered, “I’m gonna be hungry. I am sure of it.” My daughter said, “Take these crackers Mom. I’ll put it in your bag.” I barely heard her. Along the road trip, I felt hungry and opened my bag. I saw the crackers wrapped in plastic. I remembered my daughter. The crackers eased my hunger away. I am thankful she put in those crackers.
While the crackers filled my tummy, her gesture filled my heart. And for that, I am surprisingly grateful for a stepdaughter. I was given a rare gift —a gift to be a mom to a daughter to journey my life with.
For years, I have been keeping a private journal. This journal immortalizes my innermost thoughts, my spur-of-the-moment emotions and my most trivial reflections. I have kept all these “FOR MY EYES ONLY.” The entries are probably the most honest account of who I really am as a person.
I have seen online journals and was always amused with how people write their innermost thoughts and share it to the world — without fear. I have read blogs full of wisdom, full of beautiful things. I have come across blogs that offer suggestions on how to take on life, positivisms and the like, which I think are really nice. But I have yet to come across a blog that is honestly dark and truthful. (Maybe, I am just not that good in googling.) Amidst the onset of perennial connectivity and openness, people today still hold back. Amidst the hurricanes of information, I think we still withhold some. And why? Because we want to protect ourselves. Because we want to protect people we love. Because we choose to lay down to the world the more important things in life. Never mind that we feel so badly about a certain person. Never mind that we committed a humiliating mistake. People choose to unravel the lessons in mistakes and within emotions. After watering down the emotions and saturating the lessons, we go out to the world and speak what just ought to be spoken.
So now that I have immersed myself in a blog, I wonder, what would I write about? How honest can I be?
Graciously beautiful. These two words sum up my perspective on life…that life is still beautiful, in spite of the rains, amid the chaos. That the human race is still blessed with grace…that inside us, there is a kindness that prevails.
I shall write on graciously beautiful things that I am thankful for. Count your blessings, they say. Through this blog, I plan to do just that…to count on the gracious things that make my life beautiful.