Sunday, September 30, 2012

An Anniversary THANK YOU

I tell him I love him every day. EVERY. DAY.  Even on the days he drives me a little crazy. Even on those days, I love him more than I thought possible. Maybe that sounds mushy or sappy.  I don't care. I've waited my whole life to find find HIM.

Today, we celebrate our 7th anniversary. In those 7 yrs. I don't think there has been one day, not one, that I haven't told him I loved him. But what I'm not sure I've told him, or told him enough anyways, is thank you.


Thank you Joel.

Thank you for everything.  For having enough foresight to slow things down in the beginning. For recognizing that when we met, I wasn't ready for "us". Thank you for not wanting to be the rebound and waiting to be the right one.

Thank you for being such an incredible dad.  For loving your kids beyond measure and for proudly showing that love in everything you do.  There is nothing sexier than a dad who loves his children...nothing.

Thank you for being there for me in both the good times and the bad...especially, the bad. I don't know how I would have gotten through losing my dad if I didn't have you to lean on.  You are my rock and my soft place to land all wrapped up in one. You always seem to know just what I need. Whether that is to be left alone or needing to lie in "my spot" because it's the only place I can breathe. You just always know.

Thank you for always making me feel beautiful and special, even in those times when I couldn't feel further from it. For always seeing the best in me, when I seem to see nothing but the flaws.

Thank you for making me laugh...every. day. Even on the days I don't feel like smiling you always find a way to bring laughter into my life.  You always find a way to make my soul smile. You are my light on the darkest of days.

Joel, thank you for being you.  The you that takes 20 minutes to tell a 30 second story. The you that dreams big dreams with me, and works hard every day to make those dreams come true. The you that is sweet and tender, and even the you, that sometimes says things out loud I wish you wouldn't.  You are authentic and honest and those qualities are hard to find in people these days. I am so very proud of the man you are Joel and I am incredibly blessed to be your wife.

Happy Anniversary Honey... I Love You!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

JUST a Stepmom...

At first it was a choice. I had plans, you know.

Funny thing about plans, they don't always go as planned. By the time I was ready, by the time I had found the right man, by then, it was too late. And so now, I live with the fact that I will never have children of my own...ever.

When I was younger I never gave it much thought.  I never had an overwhelming maternal instinct.  Never sat around doodling the names of the children I would have one day. No, I guess I figured it would happen when it was right.  When I was ready. I never considered that when I was ready, it would already be too late.

Don't get me wrong, physically I could have had children, but it was like that window of opportunity was closed. The man I fell in love with, he already had two half-grown children. He wasn't at a place to start over again, I knew that.  We talked about that. So, I made a choice. I chose to love him anyway, and to also, love his children.

No, I would never be a mom.  I would choose instead, to be a stepmom. And it's been both the hardest and the best decision of my life.

Being a 'stepmom' is hard.  First,  you must have thick skin..VERY thick skin. You will hear, more times than you can count, "Oh, you're just the stepmom? Don't you have any real kids?"  You will be expected to sacrifice and care for these children as they are your own, but you will be reminded in many different ways, they are NOT your own. You will love them, but you will always worry that their love for you is conditional. You will worry that if you allow yourself to love these children too much, you will only end up hurt.  And you will worry, that you are stepping over the line in every situation.

I am NOT their mom.  I have no delusions about that. My stepkids have a mom and she is 100% present in their lives.  I WANT them to have a great relationship with their mom.  I will always want that for them.  Why?  Because I LOVE them, that's why.  Because the relationship between mother and child is so very, very important.

I am always trying to balance doing enough, but not doing too much. To giving enough, but not expecting much in return. No, it's not easy, but I can't imagine my life without them in it. I am fortunate that their real mom includes me in their lives.  I am sure it is not easy for her either.  I can't imagine feeling like you are sharing your children with another woman.  Early on, it was difficult.  We knocked heads a few times (maybe more than a few).  There were unpleasantries said from both sides, but there was a learning curve to figure out...for both of us. She needed to draw that line in the sand... making sure I knew she was the MOM.  I needed to make her understand that I was here to stay and that I needed to be respected for the role I would play in her children's lives. It's been a roller coaster at times, but I think we have navigated our family dynamics the best we know how. I hope, always putting the interests of the kids before our own.

So yes, I may be just a stepmom, but I hope I am being the best stepmom I can be.