19 February 2020
We are a blended family and between us, we have five children, of which the oldest four are all daughters. I have two and my hubby has twin girls. My last born, is an amazing son. Actually, all our brood are amazing in their own way. They are each so unique and beautiful and each one brings a different quality into our family mix, to make this family work.
Having said that, the first wedding was not one of my daughter’s weddings, so I was the step-mom. There was a ton of mixed emotions welling within me to the run-up of this wedding. I was not involved at all, with any planning, any discussions or any ‘insider information.’ This was easy and difficult, both at the same time. Without trying to cause hurt to anyone, let me try and explain myself.
I have been in my step-daughter’s lives for over 10 years now. They are now 23, so I’ve been there since they were teenagers. It wasn’t always easy, in fact, the first four years, was pretty much hell on earth. But, as a family, we persevered and I think we have an incredibly balanced, beautiful and precious, although extremely different, family now. They say no two families are alike, and we are no exception. Being left out of the loop as far as the preparations were concerned, was understandably difficult.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the wedding day celebrations, and had, by that time, done so much inner work, that I was able to be in the moment and just enjoy the day. It was the preceding months that was difficult.
My step-daughter had explained she was unsure of how her mother would respond to me being at the bridal shower, so I decided to give her an ‘out’ and said I’d plan something for us girls (all four daughters and myself), separate to the shower. She looked so relieved, I almost cried. But that didn’t stop my own daughters from feeling the pain of exclusion. They were subsequently not initially invited to the shower. However, after my one daughter, who is a chef, arranged all the food for the shower, the birth mother did invite her, but she felt then it was going to feel like she was intruding.
Nothing is easy with step-families. There’s always someone who’s feelings are hurt, but I do think we’ve come a long way… Fast forward to my oldest daughter arriving from the Middle East, where she currently resides. Her and I went shopping for everything we needed for a cheese platter, some Prosecco, and some face masks. We surprised the bride with the help of her twin, two nights before the wedding (as my eldest had only arrived the day before), with an hour long Thai back, neck and shoulders massage, as well as coming back to the bride’s new little home, and set up the platter, pour Prosecco and all put on a face mask with Vitamin C, Hyaloronic acid and other such luxurious ingredients – and finally toast her farewell to single life. It was a really fun evening. (Check out my VLOG next week on our YouTube channel for some footage of that.)
It should have been so easy to just be a guest and to not be concerned with all the planning, but there’s something about one of your children getting married, that makes you want to help in any way you can. When I started to look at the situation in this light, things began to shift on the inside of me. What is it I could do, that could make things easier for my step-daughter? I realised that it was precisely to just be… Be on the outside but ask her how things were going with her plans. I decided to be as supportive as I could be, but keeping my distance. It could not have been easy for her either. She must also have dealt with anxiety, worrying about how her mother was feeling, being concerned for each of us, knowing she’d caused pain to my daughters, but feeling helpless to ‘fix’ everything. We are a family that talks about things, so the sisters had a chat about their emotions. I am grateful they did. It helped settle things for everyone.
Emotions run high no matter what the situation around a wedding, so when there’s step-families involved, this can be even more volatile. I am filled with gratitude, for all the effort our entire family put in to making this wedding day, a beautiful celebration. At the end of the day, this significant celebration, is the start of their committed lives together and I’m glad we could all share in the festivities with grace and love.
I always knew that being a step-mom was going to be the most difficult thing I would do, but I now see, it is a higher calling! It’s not everyone that is cut out for this position, and it took a family wedding for the heightened awareness and enormity of this responsibility, to become crystal clear to me. I don’t take this ‘calling’ lightly. I do however, look forward to the day where I can be more involved and to being the “Mother of the Bride.”