There are lots of "how to" articles about remarriage. Three easy steps to wedded bliss the second time around.
There are lists upon lists of mistakes not to make.
I've seen a search engine full of helpful suggestions and expectations designed to prepare us for reality.
I don't read any of it.
They don't know my life. Those authors haven't walked in my shoes. The last thing I need is for someone to tell me how my life should look.
And I'm not going to tell you how to live yours.
But I did learn something:
If you are remarrying or entering into a serious committed relationship, if you both have kids, and are blending families, I have two phrases for you: no expectations/self care.
Almost a year and a half into this adventure, things are still very green for me. Most days I feel like I'm standing on the ocean's shore, trying to make sure the waves have a safe landing, don't do any damage and don't get out of hand.
If you know me at all, you know how passionately I love my kids. They are the sun, moon and stars to me. I eat, sleep and breathe my role as a mom. They are my greatest accomplishment and gift. But most of my life is consumed with making sure everyone's needs
are being met, I break up disagreements and negotiate peace treaties
within our four walls. I drive for hours every day. School. Babysitting. Youth. Friend's houses. Part time jobs. Errands. I work full
time. I own my own business. I go to school. I make supper.
Sometimes it gets a bit much and I want to cry.
I end up feeling like I'm not very effective.
That's the "no expectations" part of my story. That is a great gift you can give yourself and your family. Trust that what happens will happen and it will be good. You belong to God. So does your family.
And there are four days every month that keep me sane. Four days when I can take off my tattered and stained superhero mom cape. Four days that are about me and my husband. Four days when I'm a woman. I'm nothing else but loved and a lover.
I feel small, because the weight of the world is not on me. I feel like I can enjoy myself without needing to be responsible. I feel like I can be young and in love.
Self care. Couple care. I don't know how other blended family couples could ever manage without it.
Through a process I can only call "a fluke" (aka God) every other weekend my kids are with their dad and my husband's son is with his mom. My husband and I go out for supper, cuddle, watch Netflix, go on adventures and are free to love each other.
I have time to curl my hair.
It's just about us.
I don't think I could do this chapter of my life without those four days. It recharges me and gives me what I need to keep wading though the tumultuous teenage years with five beautiful wee ones. It gives me a chance to feel beautiful and important and free to enjoy the pleasures of life.
And by the end of those weekends I cannot wait to see my kids again.
My emotional tank is full enough to take on the challenges that this life offers.
I feel so fortunate. I feel so grateful. I feel so cared for.