30 Days to a Better Stepfamily – Day 14
She talks and talks and talks. She can talk for thirty minutes straight and never take a breath. My head is spinning and I want to put duct-tape over her mouth for just a few minutes and give my head a break. I need just a few minutes with my own thoughts so that I can know what to do next, like putting the milk back into the refrigerator instead of the cabinet. You know?
I tease her by gently tugging her ear and pressing her nose.
“What are you doing?” she asks, never breathing or stopping or missing a beat with the story that has no end.
“I’m trying to find your off button – you are sucking all of the oxygen out of the room!” I reply laughing.
She laughs with me.
Sometimes, I wish I had had stepchildren before I had birth children. I have had learn to temper my own tongue with the stepchildren, but with my birth children I was much stricter and more direct in my interactions.
Christmas is coming as we place several nativity scenes around the house. Some are from my life before Doc; some are from his life before me.
But this daughter, the one who remembers every conversation she has ever heard, remembers her Sunday school teacher saying that they don’t put baby Jesus in the manger scene until Christmas Day.
So this one, this bright and very active child makes a unilateral decision to confiscate all of the baby Jesus’ and then she can be the one who places them in the crèche on Christmas morning.
This throws the older daughter and me into a panic attack. Our baby Jesus is part of a nativity that came from Germany. It is an heirloom,… and heirloom baby Jesus is missing!
We ask the one with the unilateral plan, “Where is Baby Jesus, you took four of them and we just need one of them back.”
“I don’t remember.” She honestly replies.
I run to Doc. “Okay, I’m not panicking (yes I am!) But Baby Jesus is missing.”
Doc, the laid back man that he is, tells us not to worry, it will show up soon.
Okay, now I’m really panicking, because he doesn’t get it. Baby Jesus is missing and I want my Baby Jesus back in his bed of hay, and I want it right now. “Doc, make her find him!”
Doc pulls the young one to the side as the older daughter and I go through toy boxes, bedding, closets and shoeboxes trying to rescue Baby Jesus.
Finally we find him, unharmed, in a toy baby bed tucked under the covers with all of the other Baby Jesus’.
Returning to the younger daughter I let her know it is alright to place the other three Baby Jesus’ in the manger on Christmas Day, but not this one; And please tell me where you are going to hide Baby Jesus before you take off with him.
When a stepfamily celebrates we need to remember that there are different traditions coming together and be gracious about those traditions. My traditions about Christmas were different; and, children do not always understand in their concrete thinking that there is more than one way to do a celebration.
Isn’t that the way with God, too?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 NASB)
God’s ways are taught to us by His Word, and they are learned by the watchful eye of the one seeking understanding.
Sometimes we don’t want to be fair or understand God’s ways, we just want what we understand; we want what is familiar, and easy, and comfortable.
Our children and stepchildren are the same way. Oh, for crying out loud, it is not limited to the children. I wanted Baby Jesus in the same place he has always been long before there was a stepfamily! So giving the youngest daughter three baby Jesus, while we kept one was the compromise and the comfort we all needed.
She kept her tradition and we had ours. Stepfamily is all about bringing our ways together and beginning to meld as much as possible, into one family.
And aren’t we gentiles all just stepchildren, wild vines grafted into a natural vine? We are all just trying to fit in, trying to be a part …trying to find our home.
“You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:15-16 NASB)