The term blended’ family can be defined in many different ways. I became part of a blended family the minute I met my husband Erik because he came with two “extras”, his son and daughter. They were around 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 years old when I came into their life and they quickly became two other loves for me. When my husband, Erik, passed away a few years ago, adapting to a life without him seemed impossible; like it does for many widows. After his passing my family unit shifted again and became the type that when people ask, “How are you related?” you give them 50 different answers that all start with ‘Um…well.’
Over the last fews years I have been blessed to continue the deep relationships I have with my two stepchildren (whom I consider my own as well), but I also welcomed a new relationship– the one with their little sister. She is the daughter of Erik’s ex-wife and her husband. She was 1 year old when Erik passed away, and she has never really known a life without me being a part of it in some way. We didn’t just become close, her and I have a strong bond; similar to the one I have with my two children, but yet all it’s own. The reason I am writing this post is that today, something magical happened that I want to share.
Today while I was at their house she had a “moment” in true 4-year-old form. It was evident she needed some extra love so she crawled up in my lap. She looked up at me and said “Do you know mommy doesn’t know the birdie song you sing to us to fall asleep?” I replied “Really? Well her grandmother must not have sang it to her like mine did to me.” While still having tears in her eyes from her little meltdown she said “Can you sing it to me now?” So of course I did. I sat there rocking her and singing the song my grandmother (and mother) sang to me as a child. She calmed completely and looked up at me and said the words that melted my heart, “I love you.” There was something about this magical moment that struck me. I was rocking my late husband’s ex-wife’s little girl and singing her a song that has been in my family for generations.
People ask me all the time, “Now who are you to her?” I was recently asked that very question at her end of the year school program. I’m not her aunt, not her stepmom, it’s simply this; I love her and she loves me. Simple as that. She has referred to me on occasion as her “extra mom,” which is comical and a badge I wear with honor. There is no label to put on us, but there is one word to describe our relationship, and that is–love.
I had a tragedy occur, a horrible life altering tragedy. The pain of Erik’s death made me question everything about life but there were also blessings to come out of it; my relationship with her is one of those blessings. There is light in the dark, and it’s moments like the one I have shared with you in this post, that remind me of this truth. It helps me not move on, but move forward.
I know life is hard. Situations are complicated. Blended families are tough and there is a lot of dynamics mixed together but at the end of the day it’s about one thing–love. If you choose to do that, everything else will fall into place.