Only 26.

October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is this coworker who is continually astounded by our little makeshift version of family. “You’re so young,” she says. “I can’t believe you have stepkids.” Or, “I can’t believe you’re only 26 and have to deal with all of this.” Or even, “I know that I want kids someday, but I can’t imagine doing what you’re doing, having a ready made family right from the get go.”

I never know how to react to this. Am I really that young? I don’t think I’m too young to have kids, that’s for sure. Most of my friends from HS have at least one, if not 2 or 3 of their own little ones (and a couple of them have even more). A quick math check tells me that I would have had to have been in HS or almost just finished for the older skid to be biologically mine. Not unthinkable, not out of the realm of possibility, but okay, I can give her that one.  It doesn’t feel like I’m too young though.

What’s funny is that for most of my life, I’ve only had older friends. As a kid, most people over estimated my age. I was always told how mature I was, how grown-up I seemed. Even now, into adulthood, I’m still pegged for late 20s, even early 30s (gee thanks) because I conduct myself on a different level than my peers.

Does that make me better than anyone else my age? Absolutely not.

What it does make me, though, is more certain that I was meant for this role. My disbelieving coworker is the same age I was when I met AJ, but she doesn’t see the situation in the same way that I saw back then. Yes, I was doubtful and in no way prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, but somewhere in there, I was lucky enough to be blessed with some kind of God-given grace that allowed me to face the challenges head on and rise to the occasion, and now I am blessed with the family I was meant to be with.

I am young, but that has its advantages. I am still young enough (maybe just at heart) that I can be a playmate to the skids, which allows us to form a special bond that they don’t get with the other parental figures in their lives. But I’m not so young that I don’t know how to parent when the situation calls for it. I’ve been around the block a time or two. We get to strike a balance, the skids and I, and I feel like it works just right.

As for the drama? I think that would follow a person around regardless of age. Sometimes I do wish I wasn’t so bright-eyed and earnest, because I had to learn some lessons about trust the hard way, but at least I will be able to know that I tried.

Maybe it’s not ideal, but is there really a perfect age for this sort of thing? Whether or not I’m to young or not young enough, I’m here, making the best of it.

And I like to think it’s working.

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