I am really lucky to have four parents

As a teenager, I was angry. I mean, I was pissed off ALL THE TIME. I was unwilling to accept the new parents in my life. I said awful things. I was a giant brat. As an adult, my opinions are much different. While the last of my four parents became official when I was already eighteen, I have learned something important from each of my parents. 
I am lucky enough to have parents that are all different. Each has different knowledge and different skills. Each has different wisdom and a different personality. I think the best way to explain this is by parent, so here goes.

Janette (bio mom): She taught me how to be strong. I was old enough to know what was happening when my parents got divorced. I watched as my mom figured out how to make the money stretch and learned a great deal about money and responsibility. I helped my mom with little household maintenance and upgrades. We participated in the siding of our four bedroom house, we put up ceiling fans, and we did some simple plumbing work. These are great memories for me. I learned that it is possible to do it all, even if it isn't easy. I have always been pretty independent, but my mom taught me how to do it on my own. My mom taught me that I am capable. I don't agree with all of my mom's parenting decisions, but she gave me the freedom I needed to learn. I learned how to change tires and check oil before I was allowed to drive. I was allowed to work at a young age and make my own money. I may have started as a dishwasher, but I climbed the ladder pretty quickly. I learned some pretty important child care skills being responsible for my brothers. I was a successful single mother because my mother was a successful single mom.

Doug (bio dad): I didn't have quite as much learning time with my dad, but I learned some pretty valuable skills from him. I can refinish a boat because of my dad. I am quite sure I never will, but I have the option. My dad taught me how to fish. I can even ice fish. I have a very special memory of learning to shoot. If you are new to my writings, I have a very big family. When I was a kid, I remember my grandpa, my dad and his five brothers (maybe four of them since the youngest is only three years older than I am) teaching the kids to shoot. A line of small children with rifles is quite a sight. I got most of my social skills from my dad. He is amazing with people and one of the most helpful people I know. When I was 16, my dad taught me that I am important. That may seem strange, but when my parents were together, they were busy working and fighting. I had my first real heart-to-heart with my dad my sophomore year. I don't remember the words, but that is the first time I remember being told outright that I matter and that I am loved. My family isn't very good at talking about feelings, so this was a pivotal moment for me. When my sister got married, my dad told the bartender that I was the smartest of his children (if you other five are reading this: Sorry!). While I don't know if that is really accurate, it validated me in a way that I am not used to and that I needed.

Mel (step-mom): I have to give this woman infinite credit. She stuck it out when I gave her every reason not to. She gave me a piece of wisdom that seemed so small at the time, but has stuck with me for nearly 20 years. "Don't sweat the small stuff. Do you know what the small stuff is?... EVERYTHING." I realize that some things are important and you should probably put a little more effort into them, but this one lesson helped me to handle many struggles in my life with far more grace than I could have. Over the years, I have come to love and respect that woman greatly. She has shared personal information with me and helped me to see what really matters. She has also let me in and showed me how wrong our perceptions can be. I also got, when Mel married my dad, three new siblings. I hated it then, but they are my siblings, and I am now glad I have them. 

Lynn (step-dad): Lynn has been a part of my life for the shortest times, yet I have learned from him. Like every member of the human race, he has his flaws, but he has far more strengths. Even though I come from a group that doesn't need blood to be family, I had never seen it from the beginning. Lynn took on a family when he married my mom. He didn't need blood ties. Barely two years after marrying my mother, he became a Papa (grandfather). He has done very well with this having no biological children. I have learned from him, that family is a choice. He chose to be a fantastic Papa. If you biological family is full of terrible people, you can find your safe place with a different group of people and that is okay. If you join a "pre-made family" you can choose to sit in the car or join the group.

Not everyone is happy with their station in life, and not everyone gets four great parents. Some people never get over their own crap to see the wonder that is having extra parents. I am blessed to have all four of these people in my life.


Thank you for reading! 

Comments

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