Growing up, I never imagined that I’d get divorced or be a part of a blended family.
Believe me, it was never a part of my recipe for life.
When I played as a young girl, my Barbies didn’t end their marriages and they certainly didn’t have second or third weddings.
Divorce was a foreign concept and it wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I had any experience with it. My parents separated and got divorced the year my daughter was born and a few short years after, my husband and I did the same. I walked away from the marriage I had to a man I’d been with since I was 15 years old (an almost 15-year relationship at the time) because I didn’t know how to fix what had broken and it was easier to give up.
While I’m not proud of those few years of my life, I will never say that I regret it- because to regret it would be to say that the plan I know God had for me was not good enough and that the treasure of a child that came from those years is anything less than an extraordinary blessing.
That’s simply not true. However, I will say this: I was lost; I was lonely and instead of putting the effort into fixing what was wrong with my relationship, I chose to run away. I’m sorry for that. But, life has an uncanny way of working itself out. It’s a little funny looking back on the day we were officially divorced as I wasn’t expecting it to happen that particular day. I absently thought it was another preliminary meeting and when it ended, I cried outside the courtroom. My new ex-husband, Jeremy, came over to me and held me while I cried. I looked at him and told him I had a feeling that we would be remarried in 10 years. Then he took me to lunch. Little did I know, our second chance at life and love would come 2 years later…
I think during our time apart, my husband and I learned what was important.
We learned who we are, what we need, how glorious forgiveness can be and the life changing result of freely given grace. We were lucky enough to find our way back to one another and through it all, are happier than we’ve ever been. Our relationship is now one that we both traverse with ease as we have learned how to communicate with one another and what each of us needs to feel supported. It wasn’t an easy process, and I won’t sugar coat it.
We didn’t magically wake up one day and all our problems disappeared.
We talked; a lot. We talked about all of our hurts, all of our insecurities, our vulnerabilities and what we knew needed to be different. We both searched our souls, we both apologized, we both forgave and we both decided that we needed to be intentional with our communication, our trust, and our love. We are by no means perfect, but we’re better than we’ve ever been.
My husband and I have a seven year-old daughter together and I have a two year-old son from the relationship I was a part of after our divorce. My husband has been in our son’s life since he was less than 24 hours old and has loved him as his own since the moment they met; of that, I have no doubt. As I said before, I will never regret that relationship because I received such a treasured gift in my son. I would venture to say that my husband sees him the same way. However, while I know that Jeremy sees this beautiful little boy no differently than our daughter, he is technically his stepfather. It feels so weird to even type that word: stepfather. This serves as our invitation to the Blended Family Club.
There is no physical blood bond between them, but I really don’t think that matters.
Blood doesn’t make a family; in fact, blood need not apply. My husband and our son are best buds, and inseparable at times. When you see them together, you can see the unconditional love between them, and there are moments when it actually brings me to tears. I watch how my husband gets down on the floor with him to play cars when he asks. I see how safe our son feels when he curls into the crook of Jeremy’s arm and falls asleep. I watch as my husband pushes him on the swing and takes dozens of pictures of his smiling face to capture the moment. And I see how much he misses our son when he’s gone the same way I do because neither of us is complete without him.
I am in awe of the man I am lucky enough to call my husband- of the love within him and his desire and willingness to provide for our children. I’ll never take for granted what I have again.
I can attest to the validity of the old adage that hindsight is 20/20; oh, how true it is! With that perfect view of what was to come, there are obvious choices and actions that could have been different. For instance, I would be celebrating my 11th year of marriage instead of my first. But then I look at how I’ve come full circle and I realize how precious the beautiful family is that we’ve created; how amazingly solid the marriage I have is, and how excited I am for the future. Speaking for myself, I’m not the same person I was: I’ve matured, I’ve grown in my faith and I have figured out what is truly important in this life I’ve been blessed with. I even wonder if we’d be where we are if we hadn’t gone through what we did. While we may not have taken the easy way, this second chance and beautiful blended family of mine are treasures I will be forever grateful for. My mistakes, my triumphs, and my choices (smart or otherwise) have all led me to where I am. This is my journey and I think my co-pilot and the passengers in my boat are pretty awesome.