Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Highest Form of Praise

First a few things: 1- I woke up this morning and had double the followers!! WOO HOO! :) But seriously, I get all warm and fuzzy knowing that there are people out there listening! Thanks for the love and support! Signed copies of my first best seller to you first brilliant and loyal followers of mine! :) Though you might just have to settle for a signed copy of a finished novel!! :)
And now I realize that I didn't have a second thing, and if I did I have already forgotten WITH THE BLOG!

My step daughter used to say that when she grew up she wanted to be a manager at a major video store chain like her mother. It's hard to tell a child that maybe they should aim for something higher without coming across as being disparaging towards the person that they are trying to emulate. Especially, when that person just happens to be their mother and you happen to be the Wicked Stepmother. Being a manager in any retail environment is a challenging job and certainly a job that needs to be done. As I continue this post please bear in mind that I have nothing but the highest regard for anyone who has done or currently does this job. I don't envy those who do that job because they have to be cheerful and happy even under the most ridiculous circumstances. In general I think that customer service jobs are for the birds, it's just too much effort to be nice all the time...and this is coming from a former Disney cast member.

I have always been a writer. I have written things here and there and contemplating the novel writing process, but as with most things in my life up to this point I wouldn't allow myself to commit to actually doing something that would take longer than ... well longer than my attention span would allow. My attention span in general leaves something to be desired....oh hey did you see that sparkly thing over...uh get the idea. Josh and I have the same conversation about once a day and it goes like this:

(From my point of view)

Josh: And.....wah wah

Mandi: Definitely

Josh: Honey, did you hear what I just said?

Mandi: Yeah, I answered you didn't I?

Josh: What did I ask you?

Mandi: (I'm thinking....I'm thinking) it was something about the music in iTunes right?

Josh: Nevermind, I love you.

I can say this for Josh, he got me to commit. I married the guy, now I'm working on listening to him. So anyway....back to the point...

Over the last 5 or 6 months I have as previously stated in other blogs committed to this writing process, and it's been amazing. And I wish I would have committed to it sooner (I know I have also said this before...I'm getting repetitive) but had I committed to it sooner, well yeah I'm pretty sure I didn't know the formula for commitment so that was kind of an impossibility until now.

The point...back to the point...About 2 months ago my stepdaughter asked me, "How do I get to be a famous author who gets paid to write?" I'm not sure why she thought that I would actually know how to become a famous author since I can barely claim the title author and the only things I'm famous for I'm fairly certain nobody would pay me for. I thought it was sweet nonetheless, so I gave her a basic synopsis, write a book, edit your book (I left out the part where you edit it again and probably again and again and again and again - didn't want to scare the girl), write a nice letter to a lot of agents (I also left out cry about rejection letters, write to more agents, again and again and...), agent goes to publisher....etc. Anyway, she thought about it for awhile and then she said that it sounded like a lot of work. I of course told her that it was, but if you loved to write it was a pretty awesome thing to get paid to do (I assume).

About two weeks ago she came home from school and we had this conversation:

Ri: I forgot today was career day at school, but that's okay I just said that I was a best selling author, and you don't have to get dressed up to do that. I bet you could even stay in your pajamas all day.

Mandi: Yep, good thinking!

Ri: Well, I really do want to be a best selling author, I want to write books that a lot of people read. Here's my card.

(She then handed me a business card that said "Rianna Harbin - Future Best Selling Author")

It's kind of amazing to me how I am constantly going through this roller coaster of emotions in this step parenting journey and I think that there is no possible way that this kid can see me as anything but a Wicked Stepmother. And yet she gives me the highest form of praise a kid can give an adult. It's pretty humbling.

Today she came home from school very excited and immediately began recounting the most exciting part of her day:

Ri: Guess what?

Mandi: What?

Ri: I started writing my first book today!

Mandi: Really? That's awesome, wha-(I get cut off mid sentence)

Ri: It's about a girl who is a vampire, but I'm not going to reveal that she's a vampire til halfway through the book, so that it keeps the suspense. It's about a girl named Lucy and she goes to the School of Horrors, so that kind of gives the hint that she is actually a vampire. I got a half of a page written already, isn't that a lot? I'm like a role model, and stuff. How on earth did that happen? She wants to be like me! And then Oh God, she wants to be like me?! And then again, wow. It might seem strange to some of you when I tell you that my first reaction to this revelation wasn't all feelings of warm fuzzy pride. Those feelings are there now, but initially, I was kinda like, I don't really get it, why does she want to be like me? I'm seriously the Wicked Stepmother who feels like she is barely holding herself together on more days than I can count. I know that's probably not normal, a normal and balanced person would probably go right to being proud and feeling good about there new status. I just felt even more overwhelmed. I mean that's a pretty huge responsibility, which granted when I opened up my life to stepchildren was kinda a logical consequence, but somehow the real weight of being looked up to felt a little suffocating at first. I don't know if it's because I thought I was or will totally fail and disappoint or and more likely that I just didn't want my identity to get stolen by an 11 year old. Yes, I know that is a completely ridiculous idea...yet, embarrassing as it is to admit, it was there and it was real so I'm putting it out there for you.

Despite my shortcomings I am told by a source that I find to be trustworthy and reliable not to mention smart and comforting, that I'm doing just fine. I want to believe her, and I probably do, but then it's really hard not to feel just a little bit overwhelmed by the idea that a little person thinks so highly of me. I'm really not being sarcastic when I say I really can't imagine why she does. But she does and the responsibility of that is just a little bit overwhelming but it's also warm and fuzzy.

I think I'm past most of the strange emotional reactions I had regarding this little revelation. Mostly now I just feel the pride. The responsibility of being a role model is as weighty as it every was, but I also know that it's not a weight that I am incapable of carrying and if anything it is a weight that I should have been willingly carrying all along. Besides if an 11 year old thinks I'm a successful author when I haven't even been published, well it doesn't get much better than that.


  1. You know, what you have said is extremely real! And not just for Step-parents, but for biological parents too! I completely commend you for realizing the responsibility you have when someone smaller is looking up to you! There are so many parents out there that just don't realize it, and set very bad examples for their kids. Whether they were just too young, or just not ready, people don't realize the impact they have on their children! And as for me...someone who has a toddler and another baby on the way...I definitely feel the same as you when it comes to my child looking up to me! It's scary, it's a heavy weight, and it's warm and fuzzy all at the same time! You are a true and caring parent! It doesn't matter step, biological, legal are responsible for them. And as for the Evil part...every parent becomes evil to their children off and on!! And since I know you personally I can easily say you are an EXTREMELY good example not only to children but to your friends too! And I am definitely honored to call you my friend!

  2. I agree with Muttboyz! Parenting (any kind) is intense, scary,and intimidating. It can also be fun,silly,and energizing.

    I just started following you and I feel like I'm meeting a good friend! :)

  3. Muttboyz- Thanks for your encouragement and support! I means a lot when I hear that biological parents are experiencing many of the same emotions that I do. It's very validating, which helps to ease the step parent angst a bit. I also appreciate how highly you think of me, that means a great deal to me!

    Linda- I'm glad you found me and I look forward to hearing your thoughts! :)