Coming from a broken family, I assumed that once I decided to have a family of my own, it would be perfect. I’d be married somewhere between 25-35, and a year or two after, my husband and I would have a baby. Maybe two. But our family would be biologically and completely whole, and my children would grow up knowing that both their parents loved them just as much as they loved each other.
I would be happy.
I would never know jealousy of thinking about another woman having a family with my husband before me.
I would never know how it feels to not have rights to a child that you’re raising and loving like your own.
I would never hear a small child’s heartbroken cries as he wonders why his “real” mother isn’t cuddling him to sleep, but me.
And I would never see the love of my life think angrily back to the memories with a “family” that he almost married into without and before me.
But I do, and I have, and it’s hard.
I fell in love with a single father, near my age, raising his two-year-old son.
I would know the feelings, hear the sounds, watch the emotions.
I would know the hurt.
Know the feeling of not belonging, and have the thought that I stepped into the middle of a broken family and tried to make it my own.
But that was only in the beginning, and all you wonderfully brave step mother’s out there will know what I’m talking about: because one day, you walk into the middle of that broken family, and YOU will make it whole again.
But, naturally, that was something I needed to learn first.
I needed to learn that the family I was joining wasn’t broken while it had me in it. Together, the three of us were whole. Together. I was happy.
I discarded my jealously in a flourish of “who gives a flying fuck?!“ I realized that rights didn’t matter when you had that child’s undeniable love. I heard the cries, I quieted them, and replaced them with laughter. I saw the love of my life go from angry to happy in love, as we made new memories of our own.
And suddenly it was all easier, because I came from a broken family, so I knew how to mend this one by simply being myself in it. We, as a family, still have a lot of milestones to overcome.
But we’re not broken.
We are mended.
This post originally appeared on The Moments In Between.
Emily Millman is a caffeine worshiper, parent, girlfriend, poet, story teller, inspired optimist, and happiness enthusiast that will make you rethink a thing or two. She launched The Moments In Between website in March 2015, and continues to write quirky, sarcastic, honest, and inspirational articles while imploring her readers to look for the “moments in between” that make all the bumps in the road worth traveling over. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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