Many years ago, when I was 20, I became a stepmom for the very first time to two little boys who were 18 months and 3 years old. Their dad, who had already been married before, convinced me that I just couldn’t live without him or these adorable little boys. I always wanted to be a mom and this just allowed me to get a jumpstart on that.
The boys would come and visit us every other weekend and once throughout the week. I bonded rather quickly with them and loved to play with them. Over time our time together increased. Fast forward a few years and the boys were living with us pretty much full time. It was certainly a full house with 4 boys (we had had two since getting married), my husband, me, and a dog all in 1400 square feet!
I always knew my role as a “stepmom”, but over time with the boys always there the lines slowly blurred together. I was the one that shopped for their birthday and Christmas gifts. I was the one who baked the cookies they enjoyed eating after school as well as the one who attended IEPs (the oldest was special needs) and parent teacher conferences. I was the one who potty trained the kids, cleaned up poopies, wiped snotty noses when they stayed home sick from school, and even volunteered in their classrooms. I was their number one cheerleader for them at sporting events and all the other activities they were involved in. I was pretty much “mom”, without the title. I did it all for them and I loved it!
Deep down I knew these boys weren’t legally mine, but they were part of me, and honestly I was mom to them, without the title. When they needed something they knew that I would be there. Some of my favorite moments were holding them reading stories or playing video games on the couch with them. I would do anything to protect them, I would put their needs above my own, and their happiness was my number one priority.
Overtime, my husband and I changed… We tried to work through some things, even went to counseling, but it just didn’t work out and we decided that it was time to move on. Leaving the life I had worked so hard to build was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my life, but I knew deep down it was the right one.
After my husband and I separated we made the decision to keep all the kids together through the rest of the school year. I still got to see C & C all the time, help them with homework and continue to share that special bond we had formed over the last 9 years together.
The day came all too quickly when it was time to say goodbye to video games on the couch and sharing homemade cookies after school. Me, being terrible at goodbyes, promised them that we would still see each other all the time at their brother’s sporting events and other activities, and that they could come visit me or call me whenever they wanted.
At first we saw each other all the time, but overtime it became less frequent, conversations became shorter and more fictitious and love seemed to slowly dwindle.
I will never forget those sweet little boys, who are now 16 and 17. I still remember their precious smiles the first day we met and how they could both light up a room with their sweet spirits. Thankfully, Facebook shares these memories with me occasionally! I can’t help, but wonder what they are up to and how they turned out since we last sat on the couch and snuggled and ate cookies. I wonder if they think of me and miss me like I miss them. I am only left with all the memories we made so many years ago and I just hope that I made a difference in their life, like they made in mine so many years ago.
~C & C if you ever find this, know that I still love you, know that I am always here for you, and that I think of you often. If you ever need me, I’ll be there…
So many years ago I hit rock bottom, divorced, going to school, raising two boys, trying to make ends meet, and wondering to myself how long this stage of my life would last. I remember like it was yesterday falling to my knees in prayer pleading with God that if he wanted me to get married again that he would literally have to drop someone in my lap because I didn’t have time and I certainly did not want to go through the “high school dating scene” again. That night my head hit the pillow and I dreamed a dream. I was standing on a cliff in a wedding dress marrying the man that would take care of me for the rest of my life.
A few days later I met you, and at the moment I knew… I knew you were the man in my dreams that I had seen. You were the one that would pick up all my broken pieces and put them back together again. You were the one that would help me learn to trust and that I would give my whole heart to. You were the one that would be patient with me as I questioned everything. You were the one when I was finally ready to get married again you would be there.
We dated for several months, me playing the skeptic the whole time and looking for any red flag that I could and you still stood there silently waiting for me to be ready. You allowed me to question everything about you and about us. Many times I just wanted to give up and stop trying, because that was easy, but something greater than me told me to keep going and keep believing in the process of falling in love with you. I am so glad I listened…
Finally, one day I decided I didn’t want to ever live without you. I wanted to wake up with you next to me and go to bed with you by my side. I wanted you to always be there and share all of life’s joys and sorrows with me. The day you asked me to marry you was one of the best days of my life, because I knew you would always be there for me.
Our wedding was small, but beautiful as our life began as one. Since then you have become my best friend and the one I truly love. You have helped me become a better person, a better mom, and a better wife. You have cheered me on with all my dreams and have been there to catch me when they don’t always work out. You have pushed me to try new things and and comforted me on my weakest days.
Married life hasn’t always been easy as we have blended our kids together and learned to merge parenting styles, but never once have I wanted to give up on you, or us, or our family because I know hard things are worth it! And let me tell you this life has been 110% worth all the tears, sleepless nights, and frustration to get where we are right now.
We have come so far in 4 ½ years. We have probably grown as a couple more in this amount of time than most couples do in 15 years of marriage. We have 5 of the most perfect children all unique and special in their own way. We have a love for one another that I never thought was possible. I have everything I have always wanted in life, because of you. Perfection is something that doesn’t exist, but let me tell you this life to me is perfect, because of you. You have provided, protected, and loved me and the kids unconditionally.
I have learned more from loving you than I have learned doing anything else in my life.
Through the ups and the downs there is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes there are more downs than ups, but those are the times where you learn to love more. You have taught me how to love more even through the most difficult of times. I have learned what unconditional love is from watching you with the boys.
People in the world might look at our life and call it crazy, but I call it perfection. This life is my happy place. I would not trade away this adventure for anything. There was a reason God gave you to me… There was a reason one Summer night I saw the man I would marry in my dreams. I could not be more grateful and honored to call you my husband, to call you my best friend, and the one I get to spend forever with.
Thank you for loving me, even when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for picking me up when I fall. Thank you for supporting me through life’s toughest challenges. Thank you for keeping me on my toes with your sarcasm and your humor. Thank you for your compassion and love when I fall short of where I want to be. Thank you for your unconditional love you offer me and the kids. Thank you for your strength, your wisdom, and your charm that keeps me going everyday. I will always love you!
a college education, but more specifically a husband if you want me to be completely honest. While I was away at school I noticed something unusual when it came to dating, it was sort of non-existent. There were a lot of people hanging out, but no one was really going anywhere. Sure groups of us would watch movies and go out to dinner, but that was the extent of it. In the 6 months I was away at school (Yes, 6 months, that is a blog post all by its self!) I never once was asked on a date, nor had dinner bought for me, or anything else that remotely symbolized a date. I was confused, was I really not cute at all? Did I have a big zit on the end of my nose I didn’t know about?
I wasn’t emotionally ready for marriage, but the Lord knew it was my time. My sweet husband was patient, we dated for a year for us to both be ready and then we got married. We celebrated our year anniversary this year and as I look back I would not have wanted it any other way. He is my forever and I found him on the forgotten path, and I know you can find yours on this path as well! Just remember his way and his time!
When Ty and I got married 4 ½ years ago we knew we were fighting an uphill battle. We knew things would be hard, but we never really knew how hard it would be to blend our newly formed family as one unit. There are 10 things I wish someone would have told us to prepare us for the new adventure we were embarking on!