May not seem like a very original I topic to choose, but I have a lot of heart behind this one. I live with what some call a “blended” family. I just call it family. But basically it is my husband, me and our two kids, Zander and Kyrie, full time here at our house. Every Sunday we also have his three kids for the night as soon as they get out of church. We don’t get a lot of time with Allason, Walker and Madison, but I am hoping that come summer we will get to spend a little more time with them. Maybe even a family vacation. The point of all this, is I have a lot of love in my heart for a lotta different people. I love all of my family, all for different reasons. And although I don’t ever really say it to the older three, I hope they know it. It seems like an awkward bridge I just don’t know how to cross. I think the closest I have ever come to telling them I love them, is the sand ceremony I wrote for our wedding. It included them, and spoke of the bonding of two families, and the love we would all share. So since I am not so great at expressing these words to everyone in person, I have chosen to write out WHY I love each and everyone of my family members.
Josh: My husband.
We have made it through some of the toughest battles I can even imagine a couple facing. We fought, we never gave up and now we are on the other side, still standing. You treat me like a princess, no joke. I always feel as if you spoil me and pamper me. Yes we fight, and pick on each other and complain every now and then. But that is what perfect love is. Having all of that, and still making it through. The love you have for your kids is clearly seen in the way you smile at them, interact with them and talk about them. That is one of the reasons I love you the most. Our children are a priority to you just as much as they are to me. The love you show for me everyday, you show even more for them, if that is even possible. I have seen you standing on top of the world, and down on your knees, sure that you couldn’t take another step. And I am so happy to be there for all of it. To be the one you turn to, whether it is for help, or just to share some good news. I want to grow old with you, be the odd couple still dancing to music at the red lights. The couple people stop and smile about, because we are old and still holding hands as we walk down the street. I wanna embarrass our grand children together and travel the world with you. I know that we will make it, as long as we are both willingly to fight. We have something special, and I never want to lose that. I love you, I love us and I love our beautiful family. I am yours, you are mine and THAT will never change.
Allason: My oldest stepdaughter.
Allason has grown up so much over the few years I have known her. I remember meeting her and thinking she was still so sweet for her age. Thinking that it was so refreshing to see such a kind, well behaved teenager these days. As time went by, and she became my family, (and hopefully, I, hers) the more I got to know her, the more blessed I felt to have her in my life. This girl is a sweetheart. She would help everyone if she could. She loves arts and crafts, make up, being silly and anything with glitter. She has a real knack for photography, and enjoys playing wither younger siblings. Occasionally she has spats with her siblings, she loses her temper and there is sometimes a little bit of an attitude that pokes out every now and then. (She IS a 16 year old girl afterall) But even more than all this stuff I know about her, there is layers and layers more of her underneath that I am still uncovering. With each bit I uncover, each new quirk of hers I discover, I feel my heart fill more and more with love for her. She is so unique and caring and entirely refreshing. It is scary to think of her growing up in this world, and even scarier when I see these amazing pictures of her. But I have faith in her resolve. I have faith in her character. I have faith in who she is as a person. She is good to the core, and I don’t think anyone will ever be able to change that. I love this girl, and everything she represents. I hope she never loses that sparkle in her eyes or that spring in her step. I hope to hear her laughter still tumbling constantly out of her mouth in the years to come, no matter what hardships she may face. I hope that she knows how much she is loved, by more than just me, and that she never feels alone in this world. Cauz she never will be.
Walker: My Stepson.
I never really get to know Walker all that well. He is the hardest to shop for when Christmas rolls around, or his birthday. He doesn’t really talk much most of the time, but occasionally he just has a waterfall coming out of his mouth. I love when that happens. I love hearing him talk about how his day went, and what him and his friends did, or how he is worried about messing up hurdles at his next track event. (It is his first year doing them.) He is a total goofball, and you can see it from most of our family photos. Some of the things he come up with are so off the wall that I am not even sure how to respond. He is incredibly smart, and really enjoys all sorts of puzzles: Sudoku, Rubiks cube, riddles, etc. He used to be really big into Legos but now he just really enjoys making difficult models of buildings out of them. He loves exploring, camping, geocaching, and hunting with his Dad. When I met him he seemed so young and carefree, now I see how serious he has become and how much of life he really understands. He has strong morals and isn’t afraid to back them up. I don’t think peer pressure will ever be an issue for this kid. I am very proud of him for knowing who he is, and not letting anyone make him doubt that. I hope he never loses that resolve.
Madison: My youngest stepdaughter.
This child will be the death of us all. I love her so much, I wanna lock her in a dungeon just to protect her. Cauz she will dive into heartache and bad decisions like a cool lake on a summer day. She is very outgoing, and very headstrong. I can see that she will be the one to bring us them most trouble, but not because she is a bad kid. Because she is passionate. She is strong willed. She is stubborn. And the teenage years have hit her full force. Yet somehow she manages to balance all that “You’re ruining my life!” attitude with the sweet disposition of a the little girl she was not too long ago. When I first met her, she was all about collecting bugs, stuffed animals and littlest pet shop. She was innocent and so young at heart. But my, has she grown up A LOT over the years. I can practically see the maturity she gained all around her. She is clever, funny and fun loving to the core. When she smiles or laughs, it is nearly impossible to not join in, no matter what is going on at that moment in time. This girl may be the one to bring us the most heartache, but she will certainly bring enough love to make it all worthwhile.
Zander: My little boy.
I can’t believe I have been a mom for over two years. I can’t believe how fast this little monkey has grown up right before my eyes. I got to see his smiles everytime he discovered something new or exciting. I got to see him learn to bear crawl when his feet got raw from carpet burn due to all the regular crawling he was doing. I heard him speak his first word, watched him blow his first kiss, and had him make my heart swell every step of the way. I love waking up to his crazy smile and the way he hides under his blanket, giggling while you pretend to search for him. I love the way he sometimes forgets to be mean to his sister and plays with her instead. I love the way he runs, his little body fighting to keep up with those excited little feet. I love the wonder in his eyes every day as he continues to explore this world and all the amazing things in it. I love watching him grow, but it is bittersweet. I will miss him being my baby, but I know I will be very proud of the person he is becoming. Everyday his little personality is growing more and more. Everyday, I see a new little piece of him fall into place. It’s like watching someone paint this marvelous piece of artwork. I can’t wait to see the finished product, but I am certainly enjoying the view along the way.
Kyrie: My baby girl.
When I found out I was having a girl, I was filled with panic. The thought of every terrible thing that can happen to a girl in her lifetime just made me feel like my heart was being ripped from my chest. How do you protect such a beautiful spirit without breaking it? How do you find that balance, that ability to let go a little bit? This girl is so full of joy and laughter. She is my sunshine. Her silly faces, her goofy grins, her fearless approach at anything new… all these things make me love her even more. But they also scare me to death. It is a terrifying feeling to know you can’t protect your kids from everything, but that is just a part of parenthood. Cauz I love her enough to let her scrape her knees every now and then. To let her get messy while eating brownie batter. To let her go jump on the trampoline with her older siblings. I love her enough to not hold her back due to my own fears. To not keep her from experiencing life just to appease her worried mother. I love her enough to let go. But for now, I am holding her as tight as she will let me. Who knows how long until she decides that isn’t okay? For now, she is a Mama’s girl. And I may complain and wish for some time that doesn’t involve peeling her off my leg so I can go pee in peace, or taking my now smudged glasses out of her hands for the zillionth time and telling her, “NO!” again…. but I know I will miss these days. I know I will cherish them someday. I hope, somewhere in that big heart of hers, she always remembers a part of her is a Mama’s girl.
My Family: My life.
I love these guys. They have seen me at my worst and made me reach my best. I have grown with them, and watched them grow. I have a new sense of purpose in life with them. A better purpose, a better life. I am lucky, blessed, whatever you choose to call it. I have everything I could ever ask for in life, I only hope I can continue to be everything they deserve me to be. The amount of love that fills my heart for each and everyone of them, is enough to make even Scrooge happy. I can’t imagine a world without them, and I hope I never have to. This is my family, and it is a forever family. To infinity. Plus a pumpkin. I love you.