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Last summer, my stepdaughter, Chloe, begged for my husband
and me to let her stepsister spend the night with us. We didn’t say no, but we
took a few weeks to think about it, especially since the girls’ schedules were
making it difficult for them to spend the time together. On the weekends Chloe
and her brother Trey were with us, and their stepsister was with her mom.
But when I
brought it up to my husband’s family, they thought it was odd. They couldn’t
understand why Chloe wanted the limited time she had with us to be spent with
her stepsister whom she sees nearly every day. They told us it didn’t feel
right, that it sounded like we were asking for trouble and that it wouldn’t end
well. One relative even went so far as to say she thought it sounded like that
whole “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” thing and that, maybe,
my stepchildren’s mother was sending her own stepdaughter into our home to make
things feel fine when they weren’t.
relative went on to say that she saw Elvis buying a Slurpee at the 7-Eleven the
other day, but that’s neither here nor there. Just don your tinfoil hats and
and I didn’t see it like his family did. We listened to our heart and to Chloe.
She just really wanted her sister to experience life with us for a day. She
missed her when she was gone and she didn’t see anything weird about inviting
her over to spend the night with us.
of that? I fell in love with my stepdaughter a little bit more. She was safe in
our home, she knew that all of her parents got along and, really, didn’t have
any hesitations about inviting her stepsister to stay with us for one night. I
can’t think of many kids from divorced parents that would feel that way, but it
just proved to me what I’ve been thinking for a long time: Our kids are so darn
"Did you ever think all four of us would get along so well that we’d all just be one big family?"
and I said yes and, one Friday after school, Chloe’s sister came home with us
to spend the night.
We had a
wonderful time taking care of all three kids, and after their sister left, Chloe
and Trey both told us how much fun they had. Trey, naturally, was insistent
that his 1-year-old brother should also spend the night with us, but we
promised him that would happen when he was a little bigger. I basked in the joy
that these kids were exuding, and I smiled at my husband.
ever think we would be like this? Did you ever think all four of us would get
along so well that we’d all just be one big family?” I asked him.
his head, “No, I really didn’t. But I love that it is like this.”
help but agree. Because when I think of these kids, I’m thinking of all four of
them. And when I let my mind wander I see even more
kids. I see the kids I hope to have with my husband spending the night at my
stepchildren’s mom’s house. I see all of us together at a birthday party or a
T-ball game. I see Chloe’s mom holding a baby of mine soon after it's born. I
see teenage Trey taking all of his younger siblings to the ballpark, and I see
Chloe and her sister helping to wrangle them all up for a family picture.
One of the
most beautiful things about being a stepparent is seeing this enormous family
your stepchildren have now. Chloe and Trey have nine grandparents alone, not to mention all of the aunts, uncles
and cousins. They have all of these people they can turn to when they need help
or when they need encouragement. I love that about our family, but what I love
even more is knowing that their siblings have my husband and me, too. And
thinking about our future children and how—God forbid—if they ever needed
help and I wasn’t around they could turn to their sister’s mom without any
They say it
takes a village to raise a child, and I don’t think Hillary Clinton assumed one
family would be the entire village,
but here we are. We put these kids first, and we love them like they were our
own. Every single one of them.