Today, I spent the day with the boys while my special someone did housework. We went grocery shopping together, then baked a king cake, a pastry requiring many steps that multiple people can divvy up. It was so much fun. I love being a part of the boys' lives, to hear what they think about things, to have their help picking out apples or mixing pastry filling. Even when they're shrieking and hitting each other with pillows or fighting or forcing the dogs to snuggle with them while watching TV or conspiring to attack us, it feels glorious. They are my family, and more and more, I look forward to our weeks together.
Which is a good thing, because in 9 months, these rowdy, silly, cute boys will be officially my family. My special someone and I are getting married, and we will have to love and live with each other no matter what. I've been reading "The Courage to be a Stepmom: Finding Your Place Without Losing Yourself" by Sue Patton Thoele, and although I'm only a third of the way in, all I can think about is how fortunate I am. I found the book a few months ago, when I was feeling frustrated and lost as a parent, and this book seemed to be a salve for my wounds. But my experience has differed from the tribulations described in the book's stories. I'm thrilled to have two stepsons who are kind and accepting of me, a partner who is thoughtful and committed to me and his kids, and friends and family who embrace my new role and new family. I have many of the same challenges other parents have, but I haven't found any tempting reasons to run from this situation.
I know things won't always be this great. The boys are entering adolescence, and their increased independence can only lead to greater challenges. But I have big hopes and dreams for us as a family and I'm excited to watch us grow, independently and together.