Very early on in my relationship with my now-husband, we went hiking in the Berkshires. Not only did this become an annual fall foliage trip, but it is also the place where we spent our “mini-moon” and where we celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. In between those times and many times since, we enjoy a good hike.
It had occurred to me during one of our earlier and more challenging hikes that the adventure was representative of our relationship. I tend to follow him, but every once in a while, I lead. And when the terrain allows, we walk side by side. He always looks out for me, offering an outstretched hand when an obstacle is just a bit too steep for me to step up on my own. While there are times that I feel insecure in my abilities to confront the challenges ahead or when I feel like I’m going to fall, he always make me feel safe. And when we reach the summit of our journey, together we say, “We made it.”
On a recent hike in Vermont that I considered to be on the challenging side, I had another realization of how hiking reflected my life. This time I found it to be analogous to stepparenting. I do best when I just think about the path right in front of me. If I think about how long and difficult the journey is going to be, I think I might not make it. I may trip, I may slip, but I persevere and I feel incredibly accomplished that I didn’t give up. And through it all, my husband – my hiking partner, my life partner and the very reason I am on the journey of stepparenting – is right there leading me, following me and walking by my side.
When you are experiencing the inevitable ups and downs of being a stepparent, it might to help to think of it as such a journey. Whether you hike or bike or have some other hobby that may seem difficult while you’re in the midst of it, yet gives you a sense of accomplishment when you look back, the next time you venture out, think about your life as a stepparent. Think of the challenges, the journey, and the adventure. You may get scared and you may feel like you’re going to fall, but if you look at what is right in front of you, you will get there. And together with your partner, you too, will say, “We made it.”
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