I have wanted to write this blog for quite some time but have waited because I needed to put my thoughts together! The information in this post is not easy to write and I have been humbled at the growth that has happened in our lives over the past years as I have prepared for this.
When I first met my husband I had no idea what the future would look like because I had no idea he would be the person I would share my life with. As life sometimes surprises us with unexpected twists and turns, Danny was for sure a sweet surprise and the girls were a bonus. I was nervous to know that I would be a mom and a wife all at once but I knew I wanted to be with Danny, and on a beautiful and rainy day mid August I chose to accept the offer of wife and step-mom at the ripe age of 23. I for sure did not want to be labeled the “evil step mom” so I called myself bonus mom! I was not seasoned in this area by any means but I really did not realize some of the struggles that would come with being both a wife and a blended family mom.
When I said “I do” that December I naively thought I would be saying those promising words to just Danny and the girls. I had no idea that I would be as involved with you because I did not want to (nor did I think it was ever okay for people in our situation) be friends. I had so many terrible thoughts about the relationship I would have with you just as I am sure you had of me as well. I was nervous and very insecure to allow you into my life because I believed the lie that you would somehow desire to have your original family unit back. I also believed that I was second best and that I would have to fight to keep what I loved in tact. Unfortunately I would spend the next several years trying to keep you at a healthy distance. Sometimes things were great between us and sometimes they were tough! This imbalance made it hard on us and the girls.
Now, seven years later here I am contemplating how to tell you tell you your value to my life and the sweet things I see as God has created beauty out of the ashes of our tough times. Thank you for being as patient with me as possible as I have worked through the struggles. Thank you for communicating with me about the things that have bothered you over the years and listening as I did the same so that we could work through our differences. Yes, we are different, and yes, we have made different mistakes in our lives but I have grown to realize that there is not one sin greater than another and that forgiveness is meant for all and ALL includes YOU AND ME! I also have realized another thing along this treasured journey, and that is that we have a common love! We both have a mother’s heart!
As I have become a biological mom I have grown to realize your importance more now than I have ever realized it before. Even though I have always loved them, I also have learned to love the girls more than I thought was possible because I had never known a true mother’s love until my daughter came into my life. My situation was different than some because I had such a difficult upbringing and limited relationship with my own biological family members, so to grasp the concept of biological love was foreign to me. I had always believed it was easier to love those who were not our DNA because of my past.
The truth is it is easy to love the girls because they are so amazing, but I recently realized that I needed to love you too because I see the LOVE that those little ones have for you. Rather than being bitter and jealous about their love for you, I have decided to pray for God to show me how to love you because lets face it…bitterness and jealousy are a waste of life! I desire LIFE and I want to live the life that God wants for us. The one filled with HIM! One thing that He (God) has shown me is that He is LOVE. The word says “God is Love”! Without God we can have no love and without LOVE we are absent of God. I allowed God to shed light on some of the darker places that I have wallowed in and have decided to completely leave that place.
I recently reached out to a woman whom I look up to and consider a leader in my life. I asked her a series of questions about relationships with blended families because I have had enough with my grief regarding this situation. Little did I know she had been raised in a blended family and the one thing that she shared with me that helped me understand what God truly wanted for us was that she watched her step mom bless her mom. She felt that made all the difference in the world. So here I am praying that I can bless you.
I have had the pleasure over the years to be a photographer and have been able to capture some of the best moments in our girl’s lives. I have captured some of the moments of life with you in them, birthdays and other events. I have also captured moments without you in them, and for the girls sake, my prayer is that you do capture all of the moments you can because we will need them for their weddings :). Instead of keeping you at a healthy distance and trying to just be the “mom while you are not here,” I realized something today. As you asked and allowed me to capture your big and beautiful blended family, I realized that this could be the first of many blessings for you since I made this commitment. I also realized the “beauty from the ashes” and am thankful.
I am so glad we attend the same church so that our children do not have to feel torn. I am so happy that we sat together during the Christmas Eve service and that you hugged me at the end of the evening. I mean when I say that I have grown to love you and it is only by the Grace of God and I know for His Glory! I loved watching you help paint my own daughter’s nails the other day and I am glad you make her feel a part of your family because of her sisters. Thank you for helping me paint my left hand…we all know how hard it is to paint our dominant hand on our own…that was called teamwork. Teamwork is what this kind of relationship takes. I also love all of your children from your own to those you have chosen along the way. I promise to honor you in front of the girls and others because the girls deserve nothing less and because you need not to live with wonder regarding that (sometimes gray) area in life. I promise to continue to consider you in all of the big questions that will come as these two beauties choose their own paths in life. I will make sure you are a part of the big and small just as you do with their dad.
The past is the past and we do not live there any longer so there is no need to focus on it. Thank you for taking this journey with us. Now for the future of our kids let’s do this! Let’s live our lives and live them well…full of LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF CONTROL. Let’s be a light to that which we know can be very, very, very dark!
I also want to apologize for the very tough years. I know we have recently talked about it but I cannot imagine the grief that you have had regarding the future over the years and I know how easy it is for the enemy to make us feel alone. You are not alone. You are loved.