often say that the hardest part about being a stepmom is finding your place in
the family. Sometimes it’s hard to balance your life before you had two
children in it and the life you’re leading now. They say it takes time to
figure out where you stand with the little ones and just how much of their life
you’re willing to be a part of. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people, but I
was lucky. My stepchildren welcomed me in immediately, and our little foursome
grew incredibly close. There was no learning curve or stepping stone. It just
happened, naturally, and I will forever be grateful that our family’s
foundation was just so easy to
could be said for my entire family. When I started dating my husband, my family
knew that he came with two kids whom I was determined to love and have in my
life. The first Christmas we all spent together, just two months after meeting
Chloe and Trey, my family bought them gifts, made them cookies and spent lots
of time and patience getting to know them. It didn’t take long for Chloe, only 4 at the time, to decide that my dad was her grandpa and my mom was her
grandmommy. From there, everyone else became family, too. My brother was their
Uncle Tyler and my sister was their Aunt Jamie. That was nearly four years ago, and it feels like this was just how it was always meant to be.
didn’t expect from all of this, however, was the judgment I would feel from
other people. This past year, someone told my husband that his family should
come before mine when it comes to holiday schedules and planning visits with
the kids. When he asked why, he was told that my family was just “icing on the
cake” and that his family was “the cake” and the most important part. Because
Chloe and Trey are biologically
related to my husband’s family, this person felt that his family should get
first pick on Christmas parties and Thanksgiving dinners.
I know, I
know. Really, who prefers the cake
over the icing? Nobody! And, if we’re
using the kids in this metaphor, Chloe and Trey both throw away slices of cake
instead of eating them, but the icing? Oh, it gets licked off immediately.
They knew who their family was, and that was all that mattered.
I was furious that someone would dare to say any side of the family was more important than the other, let alone
for a reason like DNA. David, for the record, felt the same way I did. He
didn’t see my family as “extra.” Instead, he saw them as part of his family,
too. They were just another set of people to love and care for his kids, and
they were as important to him as his own family.
me for weeks, but I was able to let it go, especially when I saw just how close
Chloe and Trey had both become with my family, regardless of different
genetics. Neither one of them has ever said “Sam’s family” or “my stepfamily.” Instead, they shout “GRANDPA!” when my dad pulls in the driveway, and they ask
me to FaceTime “grandmommy” every weekend they’re with us. I pushed aside any
negative energy I had and remembered that Chloe and Trey didn’t care about
biology. They knew who their family was, and that was all that mattered.
moment that finally solidified everything for me happened just a few days ago.
Chloe, after spending the day with my brother and sister-in-law, begged us to
let her spend the night with them. It was the first time she had ever asked to
spend the night with someone else on our weekend and, honestly, David and I
were a little worried about how she might feel after we left her.
We told her
we would think about it, but the girl didn’t let up. She begged and begged us
until finally David said, yes, she could. “But,” he said, “you have to remember
that we live an hour away. So if you decide you want to come home in the middle
of the night, you’re going to have to be brave and stay here. We can’t drive
all the way back to pick you up, OK?”