I was 21 and had fallen in love with this amazing human who made me laugh like no other, he still does. I never imagined at 21, telling my parents I was dating someone who already had a child. It doesn’t seem like such big deal now days …….. but this was a decade ago and my parents where somewhat traditional!
Now before you get all high and mighty on me, there is nothing I would change about my situation. In saying that there was a moment I remember very vividly, breaking down to Nug and feeling like I wasn’t good enough to have been someones first choice to have a child with, the fact he already had gone through pregnancy and bringing a child into this world with someone else was very hard to over come at one stage. I always compared myself and for a while always double guessed him about if he would leave me and go back if the opportunity would come about to stay with his ‘real family’…….. in this moment, he reassured me with all the right words how wrong I was and I am so lucky to see it every day in his eyes how much he means it. I am enough, I am enough to help him raise his first daughter, she isn’t mine biologically and by any means I am not her mum. I have never tried to be or step in as this. She has a mum and a darn good one at that.
Today marks national awareness day for stepfamilies! This is something I hope to shine some light on in a positive way! – although we do have an ongoing joke that I am the wicked step mother and her sisters are the ugly step sisters….. all in good humour….I even think there was a moment at school she was called Cinderella (I was so shocked but then was reassured of the humour in it)
I have a blended family, although when we refer to our family we don’t add the blended or step in. We don’t need to, we are just a family. This is an experience I have been going through for over 10 years and I feel very blessed and beyond lucky to be able to be apart of my family. You often see people post how lucky they are to have been chosen to be a parent by their child when they are born. I was beyond lucky to be chosen by my partner as a suitable role model for his daughter. I am not her mum, I would never try to replace her mum, in fact I am very very lucky to have a great relationship with her mum.
We come from a very very small town and to not get along would be all kinds of disaster for Ava’s behalf. All four of us get along ( her mum, step dad, her dad and I). From Ava being in swimming lessons at 2, all four of us on the side lines encouraging and sitting together. A united front. To netball sessions and communion now. I am very proud of the way all 4 of us conduct ourself in front of her. But this could potentially be for another post, maybe, who knows!
Ava is my step daughter, I am fortunate enough to have her as one of my friends, even though she may only be 11, I have a bond that I cannot describe and cherish. Someone once told me I didn’t know what loving a child was like until I had one of my own, I giggled as I explained that I would do anything for Ava and this is the same kind of love, I put her first. This woman proceeded to tell me that I would know what she was talking about when I have a child of my own by my own blood and I should imagine that they were both drowning and I only had the choice to save one, would it be mine or my husbands. I was MORTIFIED!!!! NEVER in a million years would imagine this scenario EVER happening and the fact that these words came out of (a well over 50 year old) someone’s mouth horrified me. I admit I now think of this constantly…..maybe I am testing myself to see If what she said held any truth, she doesn’t, and for the record I would drown first saving both of them before ever loosing either (I think this goes for most normal humans…am I right??)
Today is raising awareness of blended/step families, Its about recognising we are a growing demographic in society, step and blended are on the rise. 300,000 children are brought up in a blended family environment and by writing this piece today I wanted to shed some light on a positive experience of blended families. I will let you on a little secret, about 2 years in to dating Nug there was a real hard patch, so I purchased a book “how to date and dad” it was light humour but very insightful way on looking at things from everyones perspective. I found it so helpful. No one else very close to me at the time was going through anything like this. At 23 I was juggling my own business, dating Nug while trying to not over step on Ava’s mums toes, hold down a casual pub job and have a little social life!!! I heard in the news today that there is now a website http://www.stepfamily.org.au. for anyone else going through this and feeling a little lost and overwhelmed. Its a massive adjustment for everybody.
This is just a tiny tiny snippet of what the last 10 years have done to lead me to where my life is today, if any one needs a sounding board or ANYTHING! Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Like all families we have our hard days and our tough times, sometimes there is a certain level of organising that needs to be done when in other circumstances it wouldn’t need to be thought of. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Without Ava, I wouldn’t have Nug, without Nug, I wouldn’t have these gorgeous children to live life with!