1 - DH and I knew we wanted to marry for a long time before he actually proposed or we discussed it with anyone, including our 3 young boys. We wanted to wait for resolution of his custody battle with his ex-wife, over their son. During a visit to a state park/historic site, the boys were having a lot of fun with the Jr. Ranger activities. A ranger came over and asked if they were brothers (a valid question, because they look *nothing* alike). My (now) step-son piped up, "Not yet, but we will be soon." Then he looked expectantly at his dad and me and said, "RIGHT?"
2 - After so much drama and so many delays, DH finally proposed - with no resolution yet, in the custody case. The final custody hearing came after our wedding, when we were expecting our 1st child together. Then we had to wait months after the hearing, for a ruling. It came suddenly. The judge called both attorneys to meet with her at night, to give her ruling verbally before she released it in writing. DH and I sat in a restaurant around the corner, waiting for his attorney to call him. After everything he and his son had been through, I was so nervous I thought I might go into labor. She gave DH sole custody.
Sections of her ruling, supporting why she thought DSS would do well living with us, discussed our marriage; the custody evaluator's assessment that DSS and I had "an excellent relationship" and that DSS likes me; and the importance of DSS's relationships with my sons. So, evidently, not waiting forever to get married had *helped* DH's case, not been a liability, as we'd feared.
DH and I had talked about all the ways we'd celebrate, if he won custody. But we never did any of those things. We were so profoundly grateful and happy (and sad for his ex-wife) that it was like we'd been rolled in a wave. We cried and drove away, almost unable to speak.
3 - Our baby was born the day before DH was supposed to fly across the country to pick up DSS and bring him home. (So he gave his ex a couple extra days with DSS.) The first morning that all 3 of our older boys were going off to school together - at the same school - and all 6 of us were living under the same roof, will always stand out in my memory. We'd been afraid DSS would be a mess, without his mother. But, aside from crying a little at night when he talked to her before bed, he had adjusted beautifully. He loved having a bedroom next door to my twins and seemed excited and happy about his new class (which he'd already visited). DH made a big breakfast, we all sat around the table talking happily, the baby in my sling... it seemed extra-perfect because it had taken so much work, heartache and expense, to make such a simple morning happen.
4 - The day DSS casually remarked to someone that he had "three parents"...
5 - The day DSS decided my twins' father was his "step-dad"...
6 - My twins look just like their dad and nothing like me, but DSS and I share a lot of superficial characteristics. He really looks a lot more like his mom, but when we're together, strangers often comment, "Boy, you look just like your mom!" (meaning me). Then comes "the stepmother's dilemma": verbally, I neither want to "replace" his mom, nor "disown" him. So I usually say, "He really does, doesn't he?" and then wink at him. He and I know who I'm really talking about, even if the stranger doesn't. He has always seemed OK with this, so I find the whole thing kind of fun.
Thanks for this thread! My DSS (now 15-1/2) is sulking in his room, barely talking to me, because I'm the one who found the cigarettes in his room, which have him in trouble with his dad. It's really good to revisit the warm fuzzies!
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate:
... twin sons:
(HS seniors) ... step-son:
(a sophomore) ... our little man:
(a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all