Seven years ago, I waited outside my boyfriend’s house for the car to pull up with a lump in my throat. It actually hurt swallowing and this level of nerves reminded me of when I took my driving test. There were so many things running through my head – to say the right thing, act in the right way. So much pressure I put on myself because this meant such a lot to me. First impressions count and I knew I had to get this one right. This was the day I met my stepson for the first time.
You would never have known how nervous I was when we met that afternoon – a million thoughts racing through my mind…what would we talk about? What if you didn’t like me? It was a big step for me and your Dad but an even bigger step for you. We went for a drink and as your Dad went to grab the hot drinks, I could feel the awkwardness. To this day, I think back to that time and I know that you’re an amazing kid with the way you handle yourself. We were expecting quite a lot from you but as always, you accept people for who they are – take them as you find them 100%.
There are so many unexpected things that came out of my introduction into your life. You now have an extra set of grandparents, two mums and a sister too. You embraced it all and have not once complained, even though I know that when Emma came into our lives it was chaos. I had no idea how protective I would feel over her, and had to teach myself how to delegate to you and your Dad. I feel slightly ashamed when I look back as I know you were both just trying to see how you can help, but I was struggling. Your patience and understanding with me has never gone unnoticed and I often say to your Dad how thoughtful and kind you are, taking Emma so I can have a shower after a rough night. Or making us breakfast because you can see I just need a couple of minutes to myself.
I worried when I was pregnant with Emma. We had a comfortable dynamic between the three of us; we always had such fun whether it was playing cricket on Hove Lawns or having a fry up on a Sunday morning. We were about to step into the unknown and it frightened me. Would we be okay? But recently it’s dawned on me that Emma has bonded us all even more than we were already. She is the little part of the puzzle that belongs to all of us. When people tell me how much of a character she is; how secure, confident and assured she turned out to be…I tell them that’s because of all of us. She idolises you, her big brother, and it makes my heart melt when I see that love grow and grow every day.
I know it’s not always easy. Some days are tough because Emma still wakes a lot in the night and the tiredness makes us all less patient. But what I’ve come to realise is that’s okay. There will be moments like these and to be able to say to you that I’m tired and feeling stressed means the world – it makes it that tiny bit easier. Above all, being your step mum is an unimaginable privilege. I’ve always disliked the term step or blended or even broken family, mainly because it’s the opposite of how I see us. We’re just family and I’m so proud to be a part of it.