I had planned to re-start the Newlywed at 50 series talking about our second anniversary, but something else is on my heart. I want to talk about what it means to fall in love with someone who has children. For the record, I don’t have children of my own. The closest I’ve come are my nieces, whom I love dearly. But something happened in my heart when I fell in love with George: I fell in love with his kids.
I’m not just saying this. It was actually something that I felt in my heart before I met them, before I got to know them. I loved them because he loved them. I wanted, and still want, only the best for the them. There was, and still is, a ready-made space in my heart for them.
But loving step-children is complicated because there is another parent in the picture. Believe it or not, there was a place in my heart for her, too. I was mature enough to realize that because they had kids together, my husband’s ex- would always have a place in our lives, and I had accepted that and her.
So I had envisioned this big, happy blended family. As you’ve probably guessed, we’re not there yet. The good news is that we’re making progress.
I’m building relationships with husband’s children, but there are challenges and landmines aplenty. The most important thing I’ve learned in the process is that in some way they will always see me as taking a part of their father. I want to say that’s not true, but it is.
Even though my husband had been divorced almost 10 years when I met him, my entrance into his life disturbed the ebb and flow of his relationships with his children. Our lives changed when we got married and so did theirs. Believe me, adjusting to change is not easy.
There are times when I feel I have to bottle up the love I have for my husband’s kids because I don’t know how to show it or feel my attempts to show it will be received as inappropriate. So I love through my husband. I support him as he supports them. We plan to spend time with them together and we also plan for him to spend time with them without me. We owe that much to them.
I’m sensitive, my husband says overly sensitive, to his kids because I was raised by a single mother. I never want to do anything to come between him and them because I know how valuable that relationship is to a child’s development.
My hat goes off to mothers who have seen the fathers of their children re-marry. And my hat goes off to the women, like me, who have married them. Even though we don’t always acknowledge it, our lives will be intertwined for a very long time.
I know I’m not alone in what I’m experiencing so let me hear from you.
By the way, my husband’s kids were 14, 20, and 23 when we married. When you’re my age, everyone under 30 is a kid.