My step-daughter was due to fly out bright and early this morning after spending her Christmas break with us. Her step-father flew out to pick her up. Due to the weather, their flight this morning was cancelled, and he had to re-book for tomorrow morning. I'm trying not to hope for another cancelled flight tomorrow
We were so thrilled to get an extra day with my step-daughter. We were absolutely buried
in snow, and had a great time playing outside together, as well as enjoying some indoor time playing. Even the kids were very aware of the specialness of this extra time together.
When my husband's ex or her husband come to pick my step-daughter up, we always bring her to the airport. They have never seen our house except glimpses in pictures or webchats. While we are all extremely friendly around the kids, we never really spend more time together than necessary, and generally don't even sit together when we both attend school events, etc. In the beginning it was for mom's comfort, and because we've never really progressed far beyond "cordial" it is the way it has always been. Her step-father seems nice, but small talk at the airport has always been the extent of our interaction.
Around lunchtime, my husband called her step-father and invited him over in the afternoon to play out in the snow (they live in Southern CA, so they don't get 2+ ft of snow like we have here now). He went and picked him up from his hotel and brought him back to our house. My husband, step-daughter's step-dad, and the two older kids went out in the snow. My husband came in after a bit, and said he thought it would be a good idea if my step-daughter went back with her step-dad tonight to stay in the hotel-- that things were already so different with the pick-up scenario, and that it would be really hard for her to say goodbye to him, then have to say goodbye to us tomorrow. As much as it killed him to give her up a minute earlier than he absolutely had to, he thought it would be a much easier transition for her.
Her step-dad stayed for dinner, and we had a nice time chatting and sharing some of our family traditions. He was so sweet with all the kids, gently modeling polite manners and deferring to the "house rules" when appropriate. It was awkward at times, as new relationships always are when you are trying to figure out where everyone fits in, but it worked out well.
I'm so proud of my husband for doing it, and so proud that we all were able to be such adults in the face of one of the world's most difficult situations-- sharing our child. For the first time, I am able to imagine our families becoming the blended family I grew up with, where all four of my parents could put their own stuff aside for our benefit. For the first time, I can imagine doing the same for our (step)daughter's benefit and eventually welcoming one another into our lives, our homes, and even our families. As an adult, I know how much it means to me that I can have all of my parents together and have them joke and chat together like old friends, and can now appreciate the hard work and the difficult times that must have gone into making that happen. I hope the other parents all feel like this is the first step in a really positive direction.
Peace and strength to all my fellow step-parents, and to biological mamas who have to share a child as well. May we all continue down our own paths, no matter how difficult they may be at times, and continue to move forward with our hearts in the right place, looking out for all these amazing children who are a part of our lives. Happy New Year everyone!