So, I think there are several ways in which being a stepmom is like running a marathon. For one, you know you are going to hit some walls and you had better hope when that happens that there is something – anything – that keeps you going. For me, it is my husband. The moments when I think this is too hard, that it will never get better, that we made a mistake, those moments when I want to give up, he keeps us going. He is absolutely steadfast in his belief that this is the right thing, the best thing, for all of us. What I sometimes view as monumental mountains, he sees as bumps in the road. So even though I can’t quite see what the next mile (or in this case the next day) might look like, I keep going.
It is also like a marathon in that you know there is going to be pain, but you choose to do it anyway. No marathon runner ever believes that the training or the race will end up being pain free and yet, each morning they lace up their shoes and head out the door. In the same way, we are in that period where I wake up some mornings just knowing we are going to meet resistance, that at least one kid will be in tears, and yet, I know I have to lace up my shoes and head out the door (or get out of bed.)
Finally, in marathons, you know that the payoff will be delayed but that eventually it will be worth the time, the pain and the outpouring of effort. Stepfamilies are a lot like that. During the times when things aren’t easy, where it feels more like we are strangers than family, where kids wonder why the food tastes different and the house smells different than their moms, when they cry because they miss their mom and would rather be at her house, I just have to believe deep in my heart that one day many miles, I mean years, from now, they will think to themselves “wow, were we lucky that Debbie came into our dad’s life and ours. It was great to have her around and we are better off for it.” Okay. So they may never say it out loud, but during the tough times I have to believe they will think it eventually.
So if you happen to see me wearing my old marathon medal around my neck, just cut me some slack and realize that I am at mile 20 and I am doing my best to picture that finishing line.