There is something about this time of year that makes me introspective. Perhaps it is the end of the year. Perhaps it is the gathering of family. Perhaps it is just me getting older.
As I write this, I sit in a house (the only one awake) with 3 of my 4 kids (technically Dawn’s kids, but in my heart they are mine) and my daughter in law. The fourth will be part of the festivities, she just has her own place close by.
I am quite happy to have driven 13 hours to be part of this gathering. I am happy to have been a part of creating bonds that allow this gathering. I am happy that the kids chose to all come together and I am happy that they felt the desire to include me. I realize that many step parents are not actively included and even more so after the bio-parent dies.
I am a quasi parent that loves these people but also knows they must be their own people, on their own journeys. My job is to help when I can, to provide overwatch and to advise where appropriate. I must also give them plenty of room to be their own people. To varying degrees and at various times they succeed and fail. No different than me.
I am proud of this group for remaining a group and for pulling close in the face of death and familial struggle. It is a good Christmas. I am thankful.