Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The reality is, it's a world where blended families are the norm, and children become the pawn between adults who should know better. Stepparents love their stepchildren less than their own and as a consequence, the children harbor feelings of inadequacy for life. I have had the pleasure of speaking to adults who grew up in a blended family, and they have been able to shed invaluable light on my situation.
For those of you who don't know, Cole is my 12 year old stepson. He had just turned five when I met him, and had his sixth birthday the month of our wedding in 2003. (So hard to believe now that Matty is creeping up on that age!)
I told Cory shortly after we started dating that I thought it would be best if Cole's mom and I were friends. I had learned that Kelly was about my age (two months older). I thought I could be sensitive to her role as I entered the family if I worked hard enough. I do not know if she thought this was important at that stage in our relationship, but I knew her friendship was something I had to try to have.
I'm sure it was hard for her. Cole had asthma as a child and as a consequence, she was very protective of him. Understandably. I didn't know him in those days, but I've seen the video of his wheezing while he was just crawling around. It wasn't until I was a mom myself that I truly appreciated what she had to go through those first few years of his life. It must have been hard to have me, a stranger, march in and stake a claim on her child.
We had a few bumps, as I recall it, but it didn't take very long. Kelly came to our wedding, and has been an important part of our lives ever since. The boys call her "Auntie Kelly" and spend a lot of time with her. She is Matthew's godmother and loves the boys so much. I have the unbelievable privilege of knowing that if I'm struggling as a stepmom, she'll have my back. She's always been wildly supportive of my helping to raise Cole and I do not take that lightly; I know how unusual our healthy relationship is.
I hope she knows how much I value her. I hope she knows how much it means to me that she has shared Cole with me the past seven and a half years, and how much it means now that she's sharing Vance with us too. And, most of all, how much I value our friendship.
In this time of Thanksgiving, this was one of the most obvious, and one of the most emotional to write. I wish the same happiness and love in your family this holiday season and forever.