When I first met the man that was to be my husband, I was going through a phase of my life that was centered on me. Making my way in my career, living in my own little one bedroom apartment just downstairs from a good friend who was also single and career-driven. I occasionally (frequently) would have a glass of wine and Pringles or candy for dinner. I was no kind of mother figure whatsoever.
Falling in love with my husband “T” was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Never before had I been with someone that made me a better version of myself, and challenged me the way he did. I knew from pretty much the beginning that he was the person I would spend the rest of my life with. It was magic, just like they say. He was a divorcee with two children from his previous marriage, his daughter “I” was 12 and his son “A” was 9. I can remember being so incredibly nervous to meet them for the first time, and spending hours picking out gifts to bring them in hopes that they would like me.
The gifts worked, because the kids did like me, and before long I was moving in with the two of them and their amazing dad. I went from being that single girl eating chips for dinner to a role of responsibility as a caretaker for these two awesome kids. Our “family” unit grew stronger over the years. We added two dogs and anywhere between 8-15 fish to the family along the way. When my husband proposed to me, the kids were both involved in planning the surprise and it took place with all four of us there together in our kitchen. They were the Maid of Honor and Best Man at our wedding, and “I” read a speech that brought the whole house to tears. While my heart was and is incredibly full, there was a piece missing.
As much as I love those kids as if they were my own, I am a Stepmom. And I don’t mean to put down or make little of this role, because it is an amazing one, and one that has brought me an indescribable amount of happiness and purpose. But it does not come without its challenges.
The kids’ bio-mom made it clear early on to me what she felt my boundaries were, and what parts of their lives I was not to take charge of or be involved in. Like sending snacks to the elementary school for “A” or being a classroom mom. An example most recently was when “I” went shopping for her first prom dress with her mom. “I” sent me pics while she was in the dressing rooms to get my opinion too, which brought me to tears that she still wanted me to be part of it, but the act of taking her and being there in person was not something that was in my realm of allowances.
I never got the chance to rock these kids to sleep or read them a bedtime story. I never got to play Santa for them (at a time when they actually believed in the magic of Christmas. I play Santa now but I think they suspect it might be me). Or take them trick-or-treating. There was that tender part of being a mommy to someone tiny who needs me that was missing from the more mature (but extremely fun and rewarding) relationship I had with my stepkids.
So, a couple of years ago, “T” and I started talking about having one of our own together. I come from a blended family, my mom had two children and my dad had three when they married, and then they had me and my two little sisters. I really feel like us joining the family was the glue that pulled everyone even closer together. As silly as it is, I want a sibling for “I” and “A” that is my child, to make our family closer in the same way.