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Jessica Stella E.

Location:

Reno, NV

Member since:

September 5, 2012

How long have you been a stepparent or stepparent-to-be?

One year.

What is your favorite thing about being a stepparent or stepparent-to-be?

I love the growing trust and affection of my boyfriend's little girl towards me -- spontaneous hugs, asking for me when I am not there, wanting to play with me and constantly show me things, asking to speak with me on the phone, giving me little gifts and pictures, reaching for my hand... I love it when I feel loved and wanted by her. We have shared some very special girls-only moments of bonding. I really and truly enjoy playing pretend with her, reading to her, teaching her about new things, and watching cartoon movies together! It's awesome when I come into a room or she comes over to my house and her little face lights up when she sees me and she immediately starts saying my name and telling me she has a present for me in the form of a leaf or some other little thing -- even invisible, imaginary things sometimes! She is a very dear little girl with a lot of qualities that I greatly respect even at such a young age and she makes the challenges that come with my new role worth it.

What challenge or challenges about stepparenting and your blended family do you hope to explore and tackle in this group? (You can answer in very general terms if this is too personal to post here.)

I hope to find the right balance that works for each of us in our little blended family. We have issues caused by the ex and her family, but also differences in parenting styles between my boyfriend's family and mine and it is surprising how much tension even "little" things can generate sometimes. It is especially difficult given my role as an "outsider," which means I don't have as much say as I would like, yet must deal with the consequences of other people's behaviors. Additionally, I am a great lover of personal freedom and spontaneous decisions such as outings and travel, and at thirty-one, I still have never truly felt called to take on the enormous responsibility of motherhood. I therefore struggle in a situation in which somebody else's decision to have a child is imposed on me before I feel ready to take on all the constraints that come with that. My hope is to find a way to retain and even increase my joy of living in harmony with my new reality... and grow up a lot!

Although this group is not affiliated with any of the "Anonymous" self-help groups, it is a forum for members to express themselves openly and without fear of gossip outside the group; do you agree to respect the right to privacy of fellow members?

Yes -- that is why I created this question! That is not to say that I don't believe people should have the right to share wisdom gleaned from the group with others who could use it or with their significant others when appropriate, but I believe that if people are to feel that they can speak freely and openly about even the most difficult things in a safe environment, then we must be considerate of each other's right not to have our personal anecdotes disclosed to others outside the group along with our names or other identifying factors. Reno is still a small town where two degrees or less of separation seem to apply much of the time and we want to help each other out, not possibly hurt each other by divulging sensitive information.

What else would you like to share about yourself here so that we can get to know you? For example, where are you from? What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies or passions? What is something unique about you? Do you speak other languages?

I am a child of Colombian immigrants, was born in NYC, and moved to Sparks with my family when I was three years old. Learned English at 5. As a child, I had many interests and passions and that has not changed one bit all these years later! Because of this, my professional and academic background are rather diverse. I was a double major in anthropology and French with a minor in music at UNR and have a master's degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago, but in addition to having taught in all of my fields and also performing as a violinist in the Reno Philharmonic, Opera, Ballet, and Irish and Russian folk orchestras, I translate and interpret for the police and the justice system and do web design on the side. I lived and worked in France for two years and have so far traveled in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. There is a lot I want to do... I just am not sure WHAT exactly yet! For starters, I'd like to go to Machu Picchu, Antarctica, Russia, and anywhere in Asia!

Introduction

Hi! My name is Jessica and I am the creator and organizer of this group! I have a solid commitment to being happy and am in the process of figuring out how as I transition from being single for thirty years to having an instant family!

What Jessica Stella E. is saying about this Meetup Group

Warm, cathartic, hope-giving, and inspiring! Different from books and purely online forums because of the element of face-to-face human contact and solidarity, which sparks actual friendships and truly drives home the point that none of us is alone, while Meetup does additionally allow our members the benefit of interacting online at any time or distance through the discussion forums. I had never been in a support group of any kind before and I love having started this one. It is so comforting and reassuring to hear some of my own thoughts and feelings coming from the mouths of others, and quite helpful to swap our recommendations about books, classes, other parenting groups, and even an excellent family therapist who was dubbed a "miracle worker" by a member!


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