When I first began dating my husband and things were getting serious, I started doing the math. He had a 10-year old son and 6-year old twins, so I had about 12 years of stepparenting ahead of me. I was wondering to myself whether or not I could handle it. I hadn’t ever been a parent, let alone a stepparent. I’d even only been an aunt for about two months at the time. Even the word “stepmom” seemed elusive, frightening, and somewhat negative (thanks, Disney!).

Over time, with a love and partnership that seemed to grow exponentially, I stopped worrying about how long I would be a stepmom, and just enjoyed my new husband and new family. It’s a good thing that I stopped counting, though…I was awfully naïve to think that my parenting duties (with stepchildren or bio kids) would stop just because the kids turned 18.

My stepkids are now 25 and 21. Our 25-year old is in the Army.  It wasn’t until he was 18, enlisted in the Army, and got orders to go to Iraq that I realized just how very little of the parenting in stepparenting ends at 18. I worried more about him during that long 18 months than ever before; I cried like a baby when he managed to get a transport home for Christmas in the middle of his tour in Iraq.

This is an excerpt from Shadra’ s book, Stories From a StepMom, available on Amazon Kindle. Read more or request a review copy.