What to Expect When You’re Expecting Stepchildren

In a little over three months, I will officially be a stepmom. I have loved my fiancé’s two little boys since pretty much the day I met them, six months into my relationship with their dad, and the thought that I will now be part of their lives forever is both wonderful and daunting. How do I help raise two kids who are not “mine,” and whose first few years I missed? Will the day come when they scream at me, “You’re not my real mom!” after I try to tell them to do something they don’t want to do? Can I parent them as part of a quartet (mom and stepdad, dad and stepmom) without one or all of us ending up completely frustrated and confused? Continue reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Stepchildren”

“I’m Sorry for Your Loss, and Congratulations.”

FullSizeRender 10On Tuesday morning, my boyfriend’s mother died. No warning, no easily determinable cause of death. She just up and died. He and his family were in shock. So I went with him to stay at his sister’s house, while the whole family tried to absorb this news and begin adjusting to their new normal. Time seemed to slow down. The grief in the house was palpable. On Wednesday morning, I sat with Will and his family around the kitchen table as his sister Ginny read us the obituary she was writing. And that evening, Will, his sisters, and their father spoke with the funeral director to plan their mother’s service. A few minutes later, Will invited me to take a walk with him down to the dock on Lake Murray, where he asked me to marry him.  Continue reading ““I’m Sorry for Your Loss, and Congratulations.””

Happiness: It’s Not Just for Skinny People

12011144_874512059393_1815951133451158577_n

I have a confession to make. This isn’t easy, but I need to say it. Even with all the wonderful things that have been happening in my life this year — and there are a lot of them — I still struggle with feelings of failure. And I know exactly why. As much as I actively fight against it for other people, as much as I give lip service to body positivity, I am still chained to the lie that being overweight means I am not as good as people who are thin. When I look at the picture of me above, the first things I see are my doughy arms and my double chin, and I feel a deep sense of shame. Continue reading “Happiness: It’s Not Just for Skinny People”

Ambivalence and Joy: Advent 3

advent-wreath-pic

I have such mixed feelings about the holiday season that, I’ll admit, when one particular Christmas song comes on the radio, I change the words a little and sing, “It’s the most ambivalent time of the year!”  I love Christmas, don’t get me wrong.  I’m usually the first in my neighborhood to put up Christmas lights, and I look forward all year to my annual holiday party.  But the past few years especially, I’ve been feeling kind of left out of Christmas.  I hear all the songs on the radio, and watch all the movies, and see all the commercials, and walk past the greeting card aisle, and I get the impression that Christmas isn’t for people like me.  It’s for people surrounded by big families, not for those of us who live alone with a dog and have family living hundreds of miles away.  It’s for people whose gloriously romantic (and ridiculously wealthy) significant others buy them diamond jewelry and new cars with huge red bows on them, not for those of us without a significant other and living paycheck to paycheck.  Most of all, it’s for people who are happy, and there are plenty of days that’s just not me. Continue reading “Ambivalence and Joy: Advent 3”