It starts with hearing a great beat. Hips sway, feet tapping and I nod my head left to right, right to left. She throws her hand in the air like she just don't care. We look at each other and we know it's about to go down. The volume gets cranked up higher and the dance party ensues. Cooper our cat clears the area quickly. Let's just say he frowns on participating. We laugh hard. Sometimes we're on a stage belting out the tunes ( off key and blissfully committed), sometimes its dancing our hearts out at our own private party ( moves like jagger or sort of). We collapse on the floor, giggling , maybe throwing an exhausted hive five and then we just lay for a bit. That's just one of the many moments that makes me joyful to have my stepdaughter Maddie in my life.
The pictures taken are mostly captured by this tiny human that reminds me that life is best lived dancing a bit more, laughing a bit longer and to always choose the chocolate cupcake ( cuz it's yum!!). For her 11th birthday, Britney ( Maddie's Mom) and I surprised her by granting her many request for a girls trip. We both get a bit mushy at the thought of her wanting to hang out with us, so our plan is to shamelessly take full advantage if it for as long as we can. I wanted to share the deeper meaning behind what has helped me to develop this relationship with Britney and of course the fun pictures of our trip :) As my life continues to change, so do my roles as a wife, stepmom, business owner, friend and person. Which for me was finding my own balance and knowing that struggles are just as valuable in asserting that balance. I pay more attention to the journey ( and continue to learn) because it dishes out some real knowledge. Some of these lessons unexpectedly taught by my Maddie cakes.
The magic is in the effort
I became a Stepmom 11 years ago and it redefined so much of what I thought love meant. Really, what I thought my life would look like. Husband, wife, child. It challenged me to see beyond what I thought was normal family life and insisted that we as a family step up to the plate repeatedly. There's no special trick to the relationship that we've developed between myself and Maddie's mom Brit. The journey took effort and allowing ourselves to see beyond the "I want right now" towards "what's the best for this little person we all love." It made the uncertainties a bit clearer because we got on the same page. A whole bunch of people dedicated to raising a human that will be make efforts to be her best self.
Take the high road and wear something cute
At times it easier said then done. At times is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious hard to take the high road. So I keep in mind that the low roads come stacked with baggage and distasteful consequences. Which I prefer not to include in my world. So I take a breather and step up to the plate with words that won't cause more hurt, diffuses and helps to some sort of solution. By the way, this is always a work in progress but it gets easier because you see why it's worth it.
Love is a game-changer
She's kind, creative, always asking questions and never stops talking. She interrupts adult conversations because she wants to be part of the chatter, takes forever to get dress and let's not even talk about how long it takes her to eat. She paints, draws, creates a magical story on a whim and leaves notes that make me melt every time. She loves to help me cook which takes longer but so worth it. She still wants to hang out with me so she's all up in my business :) She's not a baby anymore so her tween attitude flares up every now and then and it makes me give her the look my Mom use to give me. You know that look that says "child don't you even". She's my little fashion assistant and have told me she'll receive all my clothes when she grows up. She tells me to put my phone down when we talk so I REALLY listen and grabs my hands as we're walking just because. I love her to pieces and this love gives me the freedom to take in the unpretty moments because the good ones, always trump. Love makes me recognize that my mess ups for today is just as valuable to my victories of tomorrow. The learning is endless, luckily I have this amazing little human in my world and we will guide each other along the way.
I've been fueled by the positive responses and know that I'm not alone. I would LOVE to hear how you work through life as a blended family and the teachings it's given to you. As always, I'm listening.