encouragement to step parents

28 06 2009

Alcoholism destroys families. My family has been effected by this insidious disease for as long as I can remember. Since 1982, when Ed and I got married, it has been my goal to break the curse of this dysfunction over my family. The process has seemed like three steps forward and two steps back many times, but we press on toward the goal.

Ed and I had been clean and sober and married for five years in 1987. We each struggled with learning how to be good, effective parents and step parents.  Personally, I have made a ton of mistakes and bad choices born out of my own dysfunction. My daughter, Fawn was 15 years old and she was dealing with her own pain. Our family life crashed into the wall that year when she ran away. Over the next couple of years, we all had to look closely at who we had become, and then, become willing to make some difficult changes in our behavior. No matter what we think, we are not born with the innate ability to parent. It is a learn as you go endeavor. 

Ed and Fawn have given me permission to share this Father’s Day message that she wrote. My purpose in sharing this is to encourage the parent that feels like they are swimming against the tide with their teen age children. From 1987 to 2009, we have come a long way! To God be the glory!

Dear Dad,

Being a parent is tough. Being a step parent is even tougher.

In all these years that you’ve been my Dad, it is only now, as I’ve taken on the mantle of being a step parent myself, that I can truly appreciate how great a job you’ve done.

It seems an almost cruel injustice to expect a person to live with, love and accept an attitude wielding, teenaged female – especially in cases where that person did not have the benefit of bonding with said child before the attitude emerged.

I didn’t understand what went into things from your end. For example, I had no idea how cool it was of you to include me in your time with Crissy and Cheryl. I have great memories of walking through malls with you and the girls, eating at McDonald’s and just “hanging out”. Thank you so much for sharing those times with me, for including me.

One of my most cherished memories is the night I brought my “date” in to meet you and Mom. You were sitting in your recliner watching TV in your moose head slippers.

Your reaction to that young man and to me after he left planted a seed of thought. You made a crack about how hard it is to be intimidating while wearing moose head slippers. For years I didn’t get it.

I know you’ll be shocked, but I was a dumb teenager who thought she knew everything when, in reality, I was completely clueless. I couldn’t think of a reason you’d want to seem intimidating.  It wasn’t until many years later that it dawned on me. You were being my Dad, protecting something of value.

I couldn’t appreciate the difficulties you faced; living separate from your own children but still expected to open your heart to me. I am so sorry for all the years that you poured in to me that I was not able to appreciate. Instead of gratitude, I dished out teenaged ‘tude. Still you love me – which is mind blowing -and proof that you truly have a father’s heart.

I love you, Dad. You are a man deserving of honor.

Love Fawn

So, if you are feeling inadequate and inept at parenting, be encouraged. God can use you where you are at.

Happy Fathers day

21 06 2009

This thought goes with the pics in my previous post.
The first picture is of my toad friend who lives under the piece of wood under my faucet. I call him Toadly Awesome, named after a puppet that a friend of mine used to teach children with. He makes me smile.
The rest are just things that bring me joy or peace, or both in some cases.
It occurs to me that there are many things, (people, places and things) that compete for my attention. Today, I choose to give my attention to the things that make me smile. And I choose to share some of them with you.
Happy Fathers Day to all the stand up Dads I know.
Make it a great day!

10 things that make me smile

21 06 2009

God is on our side!

15 06 2009

Hey, I can’t believe I am actually getting a moment with a – sort of – clear mind to write something.

Ya’ll can figure out from past posts what has been going on in our lives. Crazy! But through it all God has been faithful and powerful! Not just because Ed is doing so much better but because He has been with us every step of the way. God has gone before us and opened the way for Ed to be under the care of some pretty good doctors here in town. The surgeon who took care of his hip is the ortho for the sport teams in town. He did a great job on for Ed BOTH times. I counted SEVEN doctors that we have been seeing for different aspects of Ed’s accidental fall. My mind and my calendar are trying desperately to keep it all sorted out. We still have tests and doctors visits looming over our future, but it’s all good. One test leads to another diagnosis and that leads to a follow up and that… well, you get the picture. Add physical therapy three times a week and it stays pretty hectic.

Ed is doing great walking with his cane now. He mostly uses just the cane but he gets worn out rather easily so we keep the walker around for when he needs something to lean on.

The latest diagnosis is pulmonary hyper tension. We are awaiting an appt. at Duke for a heart cath and some more exams. If all of this results in a way to help Ed get off the constant oxygen, we will be happy. We know that God is at work in the situation. Ed also has a night of tests at a sleep disorder clinic tomorrow night. They are checking for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Fun, fun, fun! Of course, the thought of having to sleep somewhere when people have you hooked up to stuff makes him quite nervous. The biggest concern is that he won’t be able to sleep at all. I imagine everyone goes through that though and they must have a way to deal with it.

Tonight, I am going out with a few friends to celebrate a birthday. The four of us plan a night of bowling and eating pure junk at the bowling alley. As always with this crew, there will be lots of laughs. We went out last week to see a movie together and I laughed so hard that I cried my make up off. I am not going to wear make up tonight in anticipation of a repeat performance of uncontrollable laughter. The Bible says “Laughter does good like a medicine”. That couldn’t be more true! It was a good shot in the arm for me. I love hanging with people who know how to have good, clean fun. We don’t laugh at someone else’s expense but we see the humor in ourselves and in each other. Heck, sometimes I just laugh at them laughing. Can you tell I am so ready for this?

Ed’s best bud, Mr. Glenn, is coming to pick him up and they will go out to dinner together. Mr. Glenn’s wife is out of town… so the guys can hang out for a while and talk about guy stuff. Whatever that is.

Well, that is the catch up on my life. I hope it made some sense to you. So many of our friends and family have continually been praying for us and we want you to know that we couldn’t have made it this far without your love. Thank you, thank you.

I will wrap this up with my new, favorite quote, I hope it inspires you to realize the greatness of God.

“This is God’s universe, He does things His own way. You might think you have a better way, but you don’t have a universe.” J. Vernon McGee

Seize the day and make it count for something great!