Joining a family is never a seamless task and Elvie Shane is fully aware of the difficulties. When he met his wife Mandi, the singer learned she also brought along a five-year-old son. It took time for Shane to figure out his role within the family, but he admits the struggles were well worth the rewards. In this Father’s Day blog from Shane, the “My Boy” singer relives what it was like becoming a stepdad and how it all prepared him for his daughter on the way.
If you’re looking for the poster child of stepparenting, look no further for someone who falls severely short on a daily basis. The grit and grace passed down from my parenting mentors (Mama and Pops), regularly teeters in the balance. There is plenty I’ve come to learn over the past decade of this journey though. Number one is, becoming a stepparent can and will change the course of your life in ways you never knew possible.
For me it was immediate. It all started with a single statement after a couple flirty conversations. “So…. I have a five-year-old son,” she said to me as she delivered my drink. Yep, I’m the guy who fell for the beautiful waitress at my favorite college bar and man—I’m glad I did. I couldn’t help but sense a little fear in her voice when she told me about him—as if it would run me off or something. I was definitely in no shape to even think about becoming a father figure at the moment, but that all changed that night.
That night I said “Elvie, you’re gonna have to get it together man. There’s no way a girl like that is gonna go for a guy like you.” So, I straightened up my act and got a job at that bar so I could see her that much more. A few months later, we were together and mapping out the first course of our dream. Becoming a family.
My first mistake was thinking I was going to ride in like some knight in shining armor and save the day by fixing everything I thought was wrong with the picture I was being photoshopped into. Cue the sound of screeching brakes and crashing metal. I quickly found out a stepparent’s job isn’t to change anything but rather try and adapt to the situation and look for opportunities to (gently) offer your opinions, beliefs and guidance with as much love, grace and understanding as you can muster up.
I’ve certainly struggled with finding my place in the family I was trying to build. In the past, I couldn’t help but feel some resentment for the sacrifices I felt I had made and not receiving gratitude or whatever back from the other side. Yep, we all get a little full of ourselves from time to time. You’ll feel it too if you’re in my shoes one day. You just got to suck it up!
Parenting is a challenge, but one I feel like I’m getting better at every day and the reward far exceeds the sacrifice. If it weren’t for Mandi having a son when I met her, my life would have probably continued down a path leading to little promise. If Caleb hadn’t come into my life, I would not have written “My Boy,” the song that has done so many incredible things for my family, fans, co-writers and team. I wouldn’t have started making a living writing music, signed a record deal or been able to reach so many people through my music. Mandi being gracious enough to marry me and let me become some kind of father figure has been the most defining moment in my life. Thank God.
You might not see it now, but keep going to those games, recitals, lessons, just keep being there because one night you’ll be laying on the couch and this kid who doesn’t have your smile, your eyes, or your blood will come out of nowhere and land in your lap with a big hug— just wanting to lay there and watch TV with you. Congrats, you’ve made it.
Now, I’m getting ready to face a whole new challenge. Mandi and I are about to have a baby girl! A girl who is already proving to keep me on my toes, months before she is even here. I’ve never been so excited and terrified at the same time in my life. Y’all pray for me… for real.
More than anything, I’m glad I’ve had such an amazing teacher in this paradoxical world of being a good parent. Someone who’s been there every step of the way to keep me challenged and learning how to be better. The one who it all started with, “My Boy.”