What do you think of when you hear the term “stepmom”?
Until I was in my mid-twenties, it was a mix of Disney villains and Julia Roberts. Until the movie “Stepmom” came out, the only cool blended family depiction was in “The Brady Bunch.” Regardless, at the end of “Stepmom” (*spoiler alert), the two women find common ground, co-parent, and live happily ever after… and then Susan Sarandon (the mom) dies.
Being a blended family is special, as any family is, with its own mix of schedules, challenges, and of course, fun.
My twin stepchildren are about to turn 13, so I’ve been reflecting lately on our relationship and our growth as a family. It’s been a crazy incredible journey watching them grow from little kids (who are dependent on you for everything) to budding, independent young adults. (But don’t worry, we have a toddler who is a mix of dependent/independent, so that’s fun for everyone in our family.) The term “blossomed” is an understatement. My stepson is now taller than I am and has learned to shave recently, and my stepdaughter is finding her own style and sass (thankfully directed at her brother).
The first time I met them, it was at a Christmas stroll that is now a part of our family tradition to kick off the holiday season — one that now includes their little brother. Our other traditions have stayed true but evolved as well. In a time of technology, my husband and I are happy the kids still enjoy camping and the outdoors. During our first family camping trip — with my husband’s godmother and uncle — my stepdaughter and I were playing catch and she caught a ball with her face. Though mortifying for me, she was fine and enjoyed the rest of the trip. We laugh now about that first experience and continue to create more memories each year. They help set up the tents, chop wood, and research hikes for us to explore as a family.
Some days I still see them as the children who were barely big enough to ride the flume at Santa’s Village. But being able to take them zip lining in New Hampshire or watch a grown-up horror movie without them getting nightmares opens a whole new level of life.
Cooking and food have always been a big part of our family too. We do a contest with the Food Network show “Kids Baking Championship” where we each pick a baker to see who chooses a champion. You win bragging rights, and it’s something we all look forward to. Our kids’ pallets have matured, too, with pizza nights moving beyond cheese and pepperoni to fig jam and prosciutto with goat cheese!
They’re getting to experience young adulthood with added responsibility for their little brother. I give them credit for that, because they probably never expected to have a sibling but have grown into being big brother and big sister with flying colors. They are loving, positive role models.
As they officially become teens, I can’t help but reflect on how much they’ve grown and how much I can’t wait to see what this next stage of their life is going to bring. Here’s to many more memories for this happy stepmom!