- Family and Parenting
Life as a step-sibling
Family changes and their affects
When I was three, my mother married the man that I knew as my father. Our family grew a little bigger that day. Not only did I and my little brother have a father, whom I loved with all my heart, I also gained three step-sisters and a step-brother. Life seemed wonderful, and it was for a while.
I recall during my childhood years how much I always felt like a castaway, especially to my older step-sister. She was the youngest of the step-siblings that became part of my family when my mother married our father. Her and I never really got along great and she would argue with my mother when our father wasn't around. During those arguments, she always made sure to remind my mother that I wasn't our fathers child. I honestly thought he was my biological father growing up. He was the only man I knew as my father and I used his last name when I was in school. How was I supposed to think, know, or otherwise understand that he wasn't? Her words really hurt. I didn't understand then why she would always say hurtful things toward and about me and at the time, I didn't realize that she was jealous. I'm guessing no one knew and if they did, no one would ever talk to me about it.
My father, her father, the father all of us children knew as father never treated me like I wasn't his. He stayed home with me when I was sick, took care of me, made sure we all had clothes on our backs, food to eat, gave us hugs and kisses, advice...all of the things a father does. He never treated me like I wasn't his. The only reason that I thought he wasn't was from the ramblings of my older step-sister who made sure to belt out that knowledge when her and mother were arguing.
My father, the one who I called dad my whole life, passed away right after Christmas in 2002. I was living in North Carolina at the time. I didn't know about it until my mother called me and told me. I didn't get to make it back for the funeral.
When dad died, I wasn't mentioned in his obituary as one of his children. My little brother was, but not me. A few days ago was my dad's birthday. He would have been 73 years old. I made mention of it on Facebook. That was a big mistake! When I made the post, my nephew (the son of my youngest step-sister) commented that I had his birth year wrong and that I needed to change it. The thing is, I had his birth year correct. I have always known what year my father was born. It's how I kept up with how old he was. My nephew though, told me that I was wrong and when I tried to give him proof that I was correct, he told me that I shouldn't worry about my father as he was never my dad. He was very adamant about telling me that! He also wasn't very nice in his comment or within the messages that followed. I will say that his response in telling me that my dad was not my father really hurt! Since all of this (the comment and messages via Facebook) I have realized a few things. Those few things are:
1. I now know that my youngest step-sister is the one who filled out the obituary and in that obituary, omitted me as a child of his and got the year of his birth wrong!
2. That my youngest step-sister was in fact jealous of me all these years and I was never a castaway in the eyes of our father or the other step-siblings.
For those of you who marry into another family or your family becomes bigger, always love your step children as your own. I have some of the most happiest childhood memories of my father (step-father) and if you notice one of the children treating another bad, talk to them both, explain to them that neither of them are loved any less because they aren't blood siblings. It will truly help the children understand that they are equals and that neither is better than the other. And parents, make sure you always treat your step-children as equals also. They will learn to love you as their own just like I did with my father.