I have two stepdaughters. I don't talk about them often. I would like that to be different, but unfortunately, the relationship with their biological mother is a contentious one. As Shark has shown me, by example, it is better to stay low-contact and not engage their mother. Sadly, this has created a need for me to disengage from them (the kids) in certain areas as well. This step-parenting business is tough. I truly had no idea the depth of what I was getting into.
My oldest stepdaughter is an artist. She is amazingly talented and has taken medals at UIL competition for her artwork. We have two pieces of her work hanging in our home and just this year, she lettered in Art.
My younger stepdaughter struggles more to figure out who she is. I don't think she really knows yet. Her likes and dislikes often mimic those around her and she often just goes with the flow. She is more of a mystery to me than the oldest stepdaughter.
There has been a consistent pattern of parent alienation. Over the course of 11 years, it has taken it's toll on all of them. It overwhelmingly bothers him to be painted in such a negative light to two of the most important people in his life. But what, realistically can be done? It is unreasonable to drag himself and those kids through endless court hearings.
I had hoped that the Bug and Shark could fill a void for one another. She would have that father figure consistently in our home, and Shark would feel needed and positively influence the Bug. It was foolish to wish for such a thing. While the relationship Shark & the Bug have built together is a good, solid & supportive one...there just isn't anything like the real deal.
I've been practicing the skill of being disengaged for several months now. There is a element of guilt that comes with it, but at the same time, I realize that this is just how it has to be. My own relationship with my stepmother didn't flourish until I was in my 20's. And it was in adulthood that I was able to look back on my childhood and understand things previously misunderstood about my own dad.
At least we have something to hope for.
But if you ever begin to wonder why I don't mention my stepdaughters often...this is unfortunately why.