I can’t let Thanksgiving go by without sharing some of the things I am grateful for.
Today we have no children around. It’s weird being Thanksgiving Sunday and it just being Rob and me. However, we are getting used to doing holidays a la “CDF style” and for Thanksgiving it means having kids schedules all over the place, but collecting everyone on the Monday night. We then have one of my best girlfriends and her kids over, as well as one of Rob’s best buds for a little festivity. It’s our own unique version of Thanksgiving. And I have to say, I love it.
This tradition (Of course! Everything I do I turn into a tradition!!) started 4 years ago. I was single, and had just met Rob. Having just Zach and Josh around to celebrate, I wasn’t too keen on cooking a turkey. Andrea (one of my dear best girlfriends) invited me to join her family and a few friends for Thanksgiving dinner. I quickly accepted, grateful for the mothering she always gave me.
Since I was only recently dating Rob, I didn’t expect to do any celebrating with him. But, when I found out he was going to be alone, I felt bad and mentioned it to Andrea. She was hesitant at first (“Really? Thanksgiving? So soon??”), but quickly said to invite him over too. However, the next day, he found out that he actually DID have the kids (he was still in crazy divorce stage)…Andrea, being the hostess with the mostess, quickly invited everyone over (while shaking her head I’m sure).
What Rob didn’t know, is that for many things I am very punctual, but often for social things, I am fashionably late. He, on the other hand, is super punctual, all the time. He showed up at Andrea’s, 3 kids in tow, perfectly on time, with no one (ie. me ) there. Andrea went to the door, and saw this strange man arriving for Thanksgiving dinner…. Luckily she is the queen of making people feel at home, and all was good and I finally arrived.
We met each other’s children for the first time – of course we were “just friends”. I think his kids secretly hoped he had a thing going with Andrea as she was super duper cool!! That was the first Thanksgiving of the rest of our lives (ahhh)….Shortly after (1 day to be exact) was when Rob professed his love to me (just to embarrass him…he had fallen crazy in love with me). Of course, I felt exactly the same way, and the rest is history. There was no looking back….
So Thanksgiving is a pretty special memory and anniversary time for us. It’s sort of special that we often have a day to ourselves before getting everyone back and celebrating – with Andrea no less (who since has gone through her own divorce).
This weekend I wasn’t feeling particularily great (getting a cold) so had a good chance to lounge around and do some reading. I have expressed my challenges with being a Stepmom before, and so spent some time reading about stepmothering, blending families etc. It has been so comforting to read other people’s experiences and know that what I experience is normal. What has been so eye opening however is how many struggle with stepmothering because of the lack of support they get from their husbands…. For me, it is the opposite. I get so much support. I am so blessed to have a husband that supports me in every way possible: as a wife, as a Mom, as a Smom, as a friend, as a career woman, a daughter, a sister and a crazy lady! He is always there for me, and I realize has made our journey together – as a new couple, and as parents, so much smoother and enjoyable than it often is for many. At the same time, he is a tremendous father and stepfather (the skeptical might say he only can support me as a Smom because he must take sides with me over his own children – we’ve seen that seed planted already) – but he is able to make everyone feel the kind of special they need, and deserve to feel. He has his priorities right, and his heart is always in the best place. I love this man with all my heart.
I am incredibly blessed to have Zach and Josh. They bring me so much joy and happiness. I can not imagine my life without them. Even when they drive me absolutely crazy (which they do!) my life would not be complete without them.
I am also honoured by the opportunity I have to be in the lives of Gabe, Zandra and Sam. Our relationship is a special one. While society (and others out to get us), may try to belittle our relationship, I do hope they always know how special they are to me and I can not imagine my life without them in it too.
I said to Rob this morning, despite our many challenges because of our “divorced” lives, and our “blended status”, I really think that we were meant to be a blended family. We are in exactly the spot that we were meant to be in at this time. For feeling this way, I am especially grateful.
Of course, I could not let my gratitude list be complete without expressing my love and appreciation to my extended family. I am surrounded by a family that fully accepts all of us. My mother, from the moment she met Rob, embraced him and his children without hesitation. My extended family (and I mean everyone – sister, brother, sis-in-law, neices, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, first cousins once removed…you get the picture!!!) did exactly the same…that is the biggest gift they could have given me (and Rob) and then given any child who has suffered the pains of divorce. For that, I am so grateful for their unwavering support and love.
Last but not least, I am so grateful for my friends. My friends really are my family too. I have been ever so blessed with friends who have been able to walk down many different paths with me. I am blessed to have honest friends who will not just tell me what they think I want to hear, but will tell me what they really think. I am grateful that they push me, confront me, and get in my face. At the same time, they cry with me, comfort me and pick me up when I go to pieces. My world would not be the same without these special women in my life. Each one contributes to my life in a beautiful and unique way – and I am blessed to have them in my life.
Finally, I am so blessed to hold strong to my faith, and to have a belief in something greater; a belief that we all have purpose here on earth, that our families are sacred and eternal, and that we never walk alone – even when we feel alone. This faith allows me to know that my own father is watching over me and my family and we will one day meet again.