I was recently asked to write an article for a friend of mine’s “Mommy Monday” series on her wholesome mom/fashion savvy blog (www.whatsupbuttarcup.blogspot.com) regarding blended families. I honestly have no idea if she will publish my article. I said shit. And weed. Actually, now that I really think about it…I bet all of her other blogging friends are probably on vacation this week and she was desperate.
Now Gather Round Children. Today we are going to learn about step-parenting from self-appointed expert…me.
I met my husband on a blind-date a few months after I had graduated from college. My co-worker at the time, informed me that I just “haaaaad to meet her neighbor.” According to her, he was a super hot, recently divorced Italian dentist with a 2 yo daughter blah, blah, blah. I was dating most of Colorado at that time, but being the super virtuous and honorable young woman I was…I promptly called the court and verified his decree was entered. *Public Record Ladies.
Fortunately for him, Mike’s qualifications checked out and I agreed to meet him for coffee. Yes. I was on another date right before. Yes. I was forty-five minutes late. No. I have absolutely no idea why he waited.
Some would probably say Mike is a better person than me. After all, he did totally give his kidney to his dad. I would probably give my kidney to my dad, but I would definitely need a couple days to think about it. And even then, I would never buy him another Father’s Day present and call him daily to remind him of my altruism.
A few months after we met, Mike decided it was time for me to meet his spawn. It is probably a good thing weed wasn’t legal in Colorado at this time, because I would have tried it. I was seriously that nervous to meet a toddler. *I am 37 now and of the distinguished age when taking anything outside of anti-anxiety meds and hormone replacement pills is super lame. Seriously stop it. Vicodin is to be treated as a “special treat” not a necessity. It’s time to pull your shit together and buy a juicer.
Anywho, Mike and I got married a couple years later and eventually had two more beautiful daughters. Actually, reverse the order. I was totally knocked up with the first one when I was walking down the aisle. We just told my grandparents she was super advanced and only needed to be in my womb for six months. Whatever. It worked out. I feel zero guilt.
Fifteen years later, the tiny two year old peeking out from behind her daddy’s legs at me is leaving for college in a year. And I would give anything to go back to that night to relive the very moment that my life would be forever changed.
I would pick up this precious little girl, hold her close to me and tell her that everything was going to be okay; I will rise to my calling. And then I would tell younger, less jaded me (without fake boobs) that I was about to embark on the opportunity of a lifetime. A journey that would require me to experience inexplicable joy, jealousy, hurt, anger and profound sadness. I will feel lost and unsure. I will feel inadequate at times and I will feel scared. And at times, my self-righteous ego will even tell me to leave.
I will be asked to make a conscious decision to love a child that is not mine. A child who is not programed to love me back. It will be my responsibility to earn her respect and her trust.
I will tilt my head to the side and ask why would I even want this? What’s the payoff? I could find another man without children, or an ex-wife and all the baggage that accompanies this deal. I will argue that I could have my own family. And then I would gently explain to me that this particular child will ultimately become one of my greatest teachers.
Because of her, I will one day understand the unparalleled euphoria and triumph of unconditional love. I will laugh in humbled gratitude rather than glower in painful angst when I think of my husband being married before me, since I know his former relationships taught him to more fully commit himself to ours.
I will eventually spend holidays with my stepdaughter’s mother, we will take turns caring for her when she is sick, together we will celebrate her achievements and the joy she brings to the world. I will even thank God that she has a mother who loves her so deeply because that is one less pain my stepdaughter will have to shoulder in this life. And eventually, I will be forever freed by the shackles of my ego when I surrender to love, entirely satiated that the orchestration of the Universe is truly perfect. Trust me on this one.
*Annnnnd I suppose if you are still not convinced…remember that your stepkid did not give you stretchmarks and sore nipples like the ones you birthed did. Love to you all. XO