We came back home from our honeymoon and started our new lives together. We went back to work and set up house as a husband and wife with an almost 5 year old son and two girls ages 12 and 10 that came over every other weekend. The neatest thing is that Roger and Brandon's birthdays are on the exact same day...April 13th.
It was a time that we had to get to know each other...me and the girls, Roger with my son, all the kids together and all of us...new family of 5...plus we were getting used to living together as a married couple. My son went to spend the night with my mother every Tuesday night because he went to pre-school in my former hometown and she would take him. This day was welcomed by both Roger and I...we didn't have much time alone with a 5 year old living with us and there was no guarantee that Brandon's father would come get him on his weekends either. That happended more times than I can possible tell you...a child sitting waiting with his bags packed and his daddy never show up or even call him. It still breaks my heart to this day to think about how it made him feel his whole life...to be rejected (for the most part) by his own father.
We were only married about three months when we took a trip to Satellite Beach, FL...a timeshare vacation that Roger and his ex-wife had planned before their divorce. We took all three children and flew to Florida. While we were there, we stayed at resort on the beach...the beautiful Atlantic coast where we went out at night, walked the beach and watched sea turtle come onto the shore, dig a large hole and laid their eggs. That was so awesome.
For 2-3 days, we drove into Orlando to Disney World, Sea World and MGM Studio which was a two hour drive...each way. We had a great time while we were there. It was a bonding time for all of us, however, things weren't always smooth sailing. One of his daughters and I had a huge disagreement (nice way of saying a fight) that was not pretty. Looking back...I was insecure in my relationship with his daughters and they probably saw me as a "2nd rate" replacement of their mother. The one thing that I said from the very beginning was that "I was not their mother, did not want to replace their mother but I wanted to be their friend". What you have to remember is these were girls who loved their mother and father plus their lives together (their divorce was sudden and blindsided the girls)...all of this was very, very hard for them. I spend many years feeling very insecure and uncomfortable when all the children were together for the weekend at our house. I felt like I was being watched, sized up, being reported back to their mother on everything that I did...right or wrong. There were times that I would be told "that's not the way my mom does it or my mom does not make me do that". As a single parent and extremely stressed, I became a "yeller" and they were not used to yelling. I have no excuse for it that justifies my "yelling" but my job was getting stressful and my ex-husband was being a real pain. So for me, emotions were running high. These are all things that I did not realize until many, many years later...actually, were a really big problem for me and that I had never dealt with. If you do not deal with your stress, negative feelings and emotions...they can haunt you many years down the road.
My ex-husband had emotionally destroyed me...I left that marriage and entered into a single motherhood life with no self-esteem, no self-confidence and had huge walls built up around myself as effort to protect myself. We always had a good relationship with the girls mother and step-father throughout their teenage years, but I cannot say the same for my son's father.
In the early years of our marriage, Brandon was very good with Roger and Brandon loved the attention that Roger gave him. Roger took time with him, played with him, coached his basketball team, his t-ball team and his football team. But step-parenting is hard, very hard work and even then, sometimes you get to a point of giving up and not trying anymore. To me the greatest thing you can give your child if he/she comes from a broken home is to support the other parent and their new spouse. You've always heard that the child is the one who suffers when there is tension between parents and/or step-parents...that is so true but it is also very hard on the step-parent. A child will usually love their parent inspite of their flaws but they do not have to love that step-parent, make that step-parents life easy and it can destroy your marriage if it is not controlled. This was a deadly combination with Roger, my ex-husband and myself for many, many years. It seems that my ex-husband had the opinion that "he did not want me but he was also going to make sure that I was not happy with anyone else either". As for the girls, their mother was always supportive or if she wasn't...she sure made us believe that she was:) No, seriously, I believe that we all tried really hard to work together...all 4 of us to help raise Roger's daughters. I can only imagine the difference it would have made in our lives, marriage, Roger and Brandon's relationship and in Brandon's life as a whole if his father had only been supportive.
I fully believe with all my heart that when a couple goes to get married and they are going to be blending families...they should have to take step-parenting classes/counseling, as well as, marriage counseling. It is hard, very hard...because they only part you have control over is yourself, your spouse and your home...you cannot change the other parent unless they want to be willing to work with you and your new spouse.
Next 3 Entries:
Mother or Referee
My Desire: A Child of Our Own
Very Successful Trip: Mommy On Board
Have a wonderfully blessed day!