Summer heat, palm trees, beaches, and amusement parks! Sounds like a dream vacation that no one would ever opt out of if given the option to practically go for free! So why were we on vacation without our three oldest children?
As I began to purchase tickets and prepare for our summer vacation, I was shocked and saddened to find out that our working adult and teen kids were probably going to opt to stay with family this vacation to work, instead of joining us.
What! I was going to figure out a way around this. So I began putting in extra time to try and find ways to get them to join us.
Maybe if I move the dates back, then they will be able to come with us. Nope!
Maybe if I look into the airfare and find the perfect time for them to miss just a few days of work, they will come. That didn’t work either.
Maybe, if I tell them all the fun stuff we will be doing and show them where we will be staying, they will get so excited, they will do whatever they need to do to join us. I was sadly mistaken.
What was I going to do now? All of my best words of persuasion couldn’t convince our adult and teen kids to join us this summer for our family vacation. It seemed like they weren’t even interested in going. Why would they not be willing to miss a few days of work during the summer for a practically free vacation? They have the rest of their lives to work.
Honestly, I felt that as a stepmom, it’s already hard enough to combat all the stuff people are saying regarding my relationship with my step-kids. The last thing someone needs to see is us on an entire vacation without them to get the gossip ball rolling. So like anyone else left with no one to answer the questions running through their mind, I began to come up with my conclusions.
Maybe they are upset about something.
Maybe they have been feeling excluded.
Maybe they just want to do stuff they know they can’t do when we are around.
The thoughts kept coming, and coming, and coming, until about the third day of our vacation. On this particular day, as I was getting dressed to hang out with family, a new thought came to my mind. One so obvious but one I had not considered before.
I thought, “ All the things I came up with as reasons for them not coming could be true, but what if they weren’t. The fact of the matter is, I can’t make my teen and adult children want to be around, but I can make it known that I want them around. And if I have planted these seeds in season, then I have to be patient and mindful not to try and force a harvest out of season. It will grow in its own time!”
That’s when I realized that I had a choice. Sure I could believe all the thoughts that were being planted into my head, or I could choose to believe that my step children were growing up, getting older and simply didn’t have the same liberty to join us as they use to. As much as I would want them to be a part of every family activity, they have the freedom to choose, and their choice may not always work in my favor.
So with that, I began to consider what I knew to be the truth. The truth was my teen, and adult children work summer jobs and have full-time employment and really don’t have the time to take off. The truth was two of the three of them were working their first ever full-time job, and asking them to take days off while they are trying to save and prepare for their next steps isn’t fair. The truth was that although I wanted everyone to join us, and I wanted everyone to know that I desired their presence, them not accepting my invitation does not mean that they do not accept me. It simply means they can’t make it.
It’s in moments like these that I must choose not to allow my broken state of thinking to create an atmosphere of rejection that doesn’t exist. I have to bring to light the truth that I know, and ignore the thoughts that I am assuming about myself and others.
Maybe you are having a similar struggle. Maybe you tend to see situations with an older stepchild or biological child through the lenses of brokenness or rejection. Perhaps you have no idea how to be a part of their world right now. If the option to be physically present in their lives the way you would desire isn’t realistic in this season, don’t worry, this is a perfect time to plant some seeds. Plant “word” seeds, prayer seeds, wisdom seeds and gift seeds. When planting seeds, I encourage you remember that you can not force them to grow quickly, nor should you pick the fruit before they are ripe. Just be patient. Wait for the full harvest so that when it is time, you will be able to enjoy the fruit of a healthy relationship.