When you are the mother in a blended family, you feel pulled in ways you didn’t when it was you and the original husband/dad and the original children. You all did your thing. You and your husband tag-team’d sports events and appointments (or maybe you did them on your own). But there was no real emotion behind it, or choosing one thing (or person, seemingly) over another.
One recent weekend, my son was home from college and was playing in an alumni basketball game at his high school. It didn’t even cross my mind that I wouldn’t go watch him play one more (possibly final) time.
That same day and time, my husband was set to pick up his daughter and bring her home overnight.
I went to see my son’s game.
He went to pick up his daughter.
He didn’t come with me to see my son’s game.
And I didn’t go with him to pick up his daughter.
Now, if my son were his son and his daughter were my daughter, we’d have just split duties and no big deal and meet up with you later.
But in this case, it could’ve looked like I was choosing my son over his daughter and it could’ve looked like he was choosing his daughter over my son. (This was not the case for either of us.)
So, we spent the day apart.
And then I got home and had a thing to go to, and he got home and was tired from a long day and a long drive, and I went off and did my thing alone.
And we spent the evening apart.
(I know, I know…couples do this all the time. Most couples spend most days apart and a lot of evenings apart. But we’re still new. And every day still matters. And every evening still counts.)
And I got home. And we were both kinda quiet. And distant.
I had to remind myself to move closer. And I had to tell myself that I hadn’t been wrong to go to Jack’s basketball game, that sometimes, we’re just going to have more than one place to be at a time, and we’re going to have to make choices, and it doesn’t make us wrong or bad, and it doesn’t make me a horrible mom or stepmom or wife, and it doesn’t mean we are choosing a one child over another child or a child over a spouse or a spouse over a child or a friend over a spouse, or whatever.
It just means there are only one of each of us, and life is full, and sometimes we have to say yes to something that is an automatic no to something else.
But, thankfully, we converged back together, and by the next morning, we had shaken the dust off that divergent day and we’re walking along together again.
Until the next choice and the next, which will hopefully get easier and less emotionally-tricky as time moves on, and we figure out this whole new family thing we've got going on.
If this post brought you some encouragement, you will like You're Going to Make it Through, my newest e-book.