We got married on New Year’s Eve. In our living room, wearing slippers.

My son and daughter stood beside me, and his son stood beside him and at about a quarter to midnight we shared vows that held more meaning and love then ever uttered by either of us before. We counted down with our friends to midnight and shared our forever kiss under our chandelier, in my $20 Ross Dress For Less dress, wearing our slippers in our very own living room. My heart was finally home.

Fuzzy leopard slippers no less. When I look back at photos of the night I married my best friend, I can’t help but smile. For as long as I can remember I wanted to get married at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Is there anything more romantic?! There is something about the excitement behind whoever you kiss at midnight being who you spend the next year with. Which meant if you married at midnight and sealed the vow with a kiss, you’d spend all your years together.

Both of us having been divorced were well versed in those vows not holding weight or sealing much of anything. However, as we dated we both taught each other what commitment looked like, felt like, sounded like and meant. This time around we wanted a different outcome, and when that is your goal, changes are a necessity. To be honest I think we both felt as though we were unlovable and unwanted when we first met.

Our Living Room

Neither of us had any intention of marriage and that was the last thing I needed to try once again. We were friends though, at first. I remember my daughter being upset when I said I was going to date my now-husband. She said, “mom, that is gross he is your best friend, you can’t date your best friend!” and she was really upset about that. Little did she know that him being my best friend is exactly what I needed. That and a whole lot of time.

We dated just shy of a year before living together, and three years before he proposed in the snow with the help of our kiddos. Then I waited a year of being engaged before we were married. Four years of our seven years together were dating and learning about what committing to not just each other, but to our children meant. And, that was the best decision for us.

Finishing Touches

We invited a few of those closest to us and decided to turn our living room into a ceiling to floor billowing ivory chiffon dream. Beneath the chiffon, our normally plain walls were covered in lights to add to the ambiance. I found a beautiful chandelier and with the help of friends and family, we pulled together all the little Pinterest ideas my heart could handle. It was nothing fancy, just love. Beautifully simple love.

Home sweet chapel.

My son and daughter stood beside me, and his son stood beside him and at about a quarter to midnight, we shared vows that held more meaning and love than ever uttered by either of us before. We counted down with our friends to midnight and shared our forever kiss under our overstock chandelier, in my $20 Ross Dress For Less dress, wearing slippers in our very own living room. My heart was finally home.

A love of a lifetime is worth at least a million tries and this love is priceless.

The Man That Stays.

The love of a lifetime is worth at least a million tries. I still believe this. Now, let me preface this with saying, no, I don’t think he loved me enough for the both of us or that I think someone has the capability of loving us back to normal. But what I am saying is that while I was learning what real love was and commitment meant, what it entailed, and the seriousness of my vows made to him – I also saw the person in myself that he was choosing to love each day.

Thank you.

The biggest disadvantage in my life has been loving temporary people, permanently. I’ve done this my entire life with not just loved ones but also romantic relationships and friendships.

Friends excite me. There is this enjoyment I experience in meeting new people, hearing their stories and the connection that follows. You know that feeling when you really click with someone and you just want to experience everything with this new friend?! That is me. And, I come on way too strong. Every time. It’s like I stick a fork in a light socket – its explosive, bright and exciting – until all power is lost and I’m left alone sitting in the dark.

So, when I decided to try yet again with not just love, but marriage –  the majority of people thought (maybe still think) I was crazy. But as we continue our adventure in this life, our 7th year together, I’m pretty sure God provided me with a blessing of a man who carried a couple extra buckets.

The love of a lifetime is worth at least a million tries. I still believe this. Now, let me preface this with saying, no, I don’t think he loved me enough for the both of us or that I think someone has the capability of loving us back to normal. But what I am saying is that while I was learning what real love was and commitment meant, what it entailed, and the seriousness of my vows made to him – I also saw the person in myself that he was choosing to love each day.

This is a letter to my husband –

Broken women, run. We do, and often without notice or even our own knowledge. It is second nature to leave before being left. The thought of being valued, appreciated and wanted is unimaginable. And, the desire to find a man to love you when you are still learning to love yourself runs deep. We just want to be loved and accepted.

That is a whole heck-of a lot of baggage for one man. Yet you picked up each of my bags and built a home with me. You helped me unpack, sort and discard the items that I no longer needed to travel with – because my traveling days were over unless they included you. When my stubborn streaks and independence was full of “I don’t need you” and “I can do it all on my own” – you stepped back and let me do just that. And, patiently waited for me to come to terms with the beauty of wanting a partner and wanting the help – not needing it.

When my days crumble and go to crap and nothing makes sense, you let me collapse into your lap, sink my face into the side of your neck and cry, piss and moan or pout. When my hormones are out of whack and I am throwing a tantrum that makes a two-year-old jealous – you don’t engage. When my actions are full of quit and you see that I am preparing for you to do the same, you don’t. When my words and actions make zero sense or I am just flat out being a pain in the butt, you have no problem telling me to, “cut the crap!” And, then try kissing me. It is super weird, you are super weird  – but I love that.

If we argue – it’s quick. Mostly because my memory is shot – but still. If we disagree – we talk it out and then agree that I was right – okay, okay – mostly right. You laugh at my corny jokes and love that I get mushy over hallmark movies. You make goofy snap chat videos with me, and will retake pictures until my double chin doesn’t show. You watch the Real Housewives, and This is Us with me too – and possibly when I am not in the room. You let my daughter, now your daughter, paint your toes that one time, remember? Oh, and do you remember that time you dressed up as Olaf for Halloween? Yep, you are that man, that husband – that makes his wife happy. That matters you know, more than you realize.

You tell me I am beautiful without even looking at me – which at first bothered me because I thought beauty was visually pleasing. Until the day I was un-showered, hair thrown up in a messy bun, zero makeup – probably looking all kinds of unkempt – and you looked me in the eyes, pulled me close and told me, “I’m so in love with you and you are so beautiful.” It was then that it clicked, you see me differently. You see me with love.

You stepped in as a father, a coach, a friend and a support for my children. You’ve been reminded you are not their father, and then loved as being one. You’ve gifted me another son and afforded my heart the ability to stretch even bigger than I imagined it could. You showed me the beauty of understanding and meaning my vows. Love doesn’t always make sense. But it always makes a choice. It chooses to give the benefit of the doubt. It chooses to trust. It chooses to listen, care and hope. Most of all, love chooses to STAY. Sometimes, to be honest, I wonder if you were dropped on your head as a child, because that is the only explainable reason you could possibly love me as much as you do. Remind me to thank your parents next time I see them for possibly being inattentive.

You are the man that chose the remaining pieces let over. The scraps, if you will. It’s incredible the sustenance and substance you can find in what someone else discarded. I’ve learned commitment from you. I’ve learned unconditional love from you. I’ve learned what a real, godly and faith driven marriage is from you. And, I love you endlessly and want to say thank you for loving and choosing me everyday.

Everyone has one more chance for love inside them

It is true, you may be scared and uneasy maybe even willing to self sabotage it once it arrives – but the ability to love someone new, a last ditch effort of maybe this could be the elusive one – is there inside everyone. But, why? Why not just completely rule out the possibility of love, why don’t our fears of rejection and heartbreak – keep our hearts locked down tight? And, what do we gain from loving again?

Read More at http://www.divorcedmoms.com/articles/why-im-not-afraid-to-love-again

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Why I’m not afraid to love again. DivorcedMoms.com

Siblings don’t love less because they are steps

So, today I heard our youngest son tell our middle child “Gage you are my best friend” and when I looked down I saw this and had to take a picture! This goes to show how much children love regardless. Gage is my SS most favorite person and he has to be just like him, he is his big brother – no difference just because they are steps ♥

The “Theys” say…

You always hear people say “They say this, or They say that”, and I often wonder who this they person is and how exactly they know so dang much! Truth is, I am a they and you are too. One of the biggest things “they say” is to write what you know…which according to my husband leaves me not much to write about, but what does he know anyhow?

Truth is, my husband is actually quite supportive as of late, he was impressed seeing my blog, and the emails from step-moms all over either asking for advice or simply thanking me for starting the Facebook page. Even though I give him a lot of flack, we both know, he knows, I’m pretty smart and knowledgeable in a few things, one of which is being a mom. 

Growing up in the south, St. Mary’s Georgia to be exact, everyone knew JC James, which really was Jessie, but with the southern drawl it came out “JC”.  When I was four years old, I moved there with my grandparents because my grandfather was stationed at the local naval base in Kingsland, GA. Everyone went to the same church, the same grocery store, the same school, and so on. For as much as everyone knew about everyone, I don’t recall ever being asked by anyone, where my mother was, or even who she was for that matter. To be honest, I don’t recall if I ever questioned it either. 

Until a few years back I harbored great resentment towards her, for abandoning me, and not stepping up to the plate as a parent. Actually for years before that, I even believed that the stories I heard, the letters never received, birthdays  missed etc, were all because of some grand misunderstanding that would one day be cleared up and all would be forgotten. Then, one day this little dreamer, woke up and realized the only misunderstanding was the one I created out of hope. That’s where the resentment part came to play.

Holding my daughter when she was only a couple weeks old, and going over every tiny perfection, falling in love with every noise, every tiny wrinkle, every single detail she possessed, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why any woman would walk away from their child. In that moment, I made a vow to my daughter and myself to never be anything like the woman, who was nothing like me. That was almost ten years ago~ and I have succeeded. 

Over the years, I’ve had two conversations with the woman that gave birth to me, over the phone,  and they brought me to two conclusions. First is that the best thing to ever happen to me, the most fortunate experience of my childhood was this woman walking out and staying out of my life, because she did me a great favor – by not staying and completely ruining both of us. The other is that she never had any business being a mother – as she was battling demons that would never had allowed her the functionality or understanding of caring for another. She did of course create and give birth to me, which I am thankful for, their are other choices she could have made.

They say children born into broken homes, create broken homes, instinctively. They also say, those born into broken homes create protective homes and reverse the cycle. Personally, I like the second They’s better – much more positive in my opinion. See for me it is pretty simple, if you don’t like it, change it. No one decides who you are going to be, not the They’s or me, only you! If you ask me that’s a set of pretty great odds, a bet I would take any day. 

Am I a perfect parent? No way in gods green earth or the fiery hells below am I anywhere near it – BUT, and its a big BUT, I am a damn good note taker. My husband says I am the best mom, when he thinks I can’t hear him of course, or when he is defending my honor to our “beloved” or not-so-much Bio-mom of our son. I’m sure it tweaks her to no end to hear him say anything of the sort, but in my own defense I do have seven years more experience in failing and prevailing as a mother than her, and ten years of maturity by age alone – lets not go there now though! Maybe that’s where they say its takes a village to raise a child comes from. I was raised by a village, and now a village in a sense is raising my stepson. 

You have to figure this little man has three sides of family involved in his upbringing – the math alone on that could create a head spin! He has his mothers side, his fathers side, and my side. He gained a brother and sister, aunt, uncles, and many friends that have turned into family from me, and then the normal aunts, uncles, grandparents on both mom and dads side. That’s a lot of people! Think of it in terms of Christmas, birthdays, this little boy has it made in that department, and you know every set of family is over-compensating for the broken home created by mom and dad or circumstances of such. That’s another story for another time.

The main importance I know is that this little guy is happy, well-rounded, loved and adjusting normally – and I can assure you he is loved and cared for. But, I think we all know that well-rounded can be a struggle when being raised by so many different people, with different ideals, morals, backgrounds, beliefs – not to mention the underlying resentment of a step-mom loving another woman’s child. You do realize that to many, this is an offensive crime, punishable by tar and feathering, even hanging I am sure in some areas. In the post office of our local town, I am sure behind some random paper, there is a bounty on  my step-mom title, and step-mom head. (It would be a really high bounty I know, because I have a pretty great step-mom title and head too).

Truth is, well they say the truth is, kids are blessed to have more love, than not enough, more family then none, and more parents than one, these days. Since I like these statistics, I must agree with the theys in this matter as well. So far the theys have it!  

Being in my early (very early!) – okay early mid thirties, I’ve never have called a woman mom, or felt like I had one until marrying my husband. I never knew how it felt to come home and lay my head in a mothers lap, and have her run her fingers through my hair, like I do my daughters. I never knew how it felt to come home and cry in arms that accepted me completely, that created a safe place to simply unravel. I never knew what it felt like to have someone be proud of me, to tear up when I got an award, or was caught doing something small yet monumental. These are all moments that I have with my children, I know how it feels to be the mom, to hug, to hold, the pride and unconditional love that exists between them and myself – but I do not know how it feels to be the child. That kills me still to this day to never have felt that sense of contentment, belonging, to be unconditionally loved by anyone. And, I simply refuse to allow that pattern to continue for my children, including my step-son. 

He is a blessing to me, a gift there was no way of creating myself. His heart is genuine, pure and I will be damned if anyone treats him as anything less than he deserves. I don’t want him being thirty years old and questioning whether he ever made anyone proud, whether he was wanted, loved or important. I want this little man to grow up to teach his children that love knows no bounds, no bloodlines, no limits – and that every person deserves to be loved by another. What we teach our children now, we are also teaching our children’s, children. At least that what They Say.