It's a fantasy that we all at some point entertain even if we don't say it out loud - wouldn't life be better, easier if the Ex just wasn't around? No more back and forth, constant negotiation, different house rules, splitting life smack dab down the middle...... It's not that we wish for harm to fall upon the Ex - we just wish for simple, easy. But life is never simple or easy - Ex or no Ex in your life.
If we didn't have the complications of a Blended Family to contend with - there inevitably would be something equally as challenging right there to take its place. My friends with families minus the Blended seem to have just as many issues as we do - just different issues - the key word being issues. Every family has issues.
Its been years since I've been to the "What If" scenario. So when the phone rang with news that Greta, Mom to Jax and Little Hart, had suffered a heart attack - I felt guilty for ever having entertained the thought.
Little Hart's brush with death a few years ago meant Greta and I spent nine days in her small hospital room. That experience brought to the forefront a couple of things I always knew deep down. First, Greta loved the kids with every fiber of her being - even if she showed love differently from the way I expressed love for the kids. I didn't hold the patent on loving - how we love is as unique as we are individuals.
Second, some of the things I loved most about Jax and Little Hart were actually qualities that came from their Mother. A point we sometimes gloss over in a Blended Family. Not all of our kids incredible traits come solely from their Father and all the bad from their Mother. There's a good mix from both parents.
Last Tuesday night, my heart broke for Jax and Little Hart - I wept with the kids when we broke the news - your Mom had a heart attack. I wanted to fix this for them, but there was nothing that could be done other than support them through this time.
Later that evening when we took Little Hart to visit her Mom at the hospital, Greta invited us back to her room. When I walked through the the hospital room door I was overcome with emotion - it took everything I had not to burst out sobbing. I was feeling a lot of things - not in any particular order:
- Empathy as a Mom for what must have been a mortality wake up call. What if this hadn't been caught early? All the special milestones flashing before her that her children have yet to experience and the possibility that she may not be there to be apart of them.
- Greta's three younger children. Jax and Little Hart had our family to fall back on for support. How would the other kids fare through this situation?
- Jax and Little Hart's life without their mother in it. Life without her would leave a hole that nothing or no one could ever fill.
- Thankful that Little Hart and Greta had built a strong, close relationship these past few years - glad that I had helped it flourish rather than hinder its potential.
Jax and Little Hart losing their Mother would have never made anyones life easier, least of all her two kids that I love like my own.
At the end of a day in a Blended Family we face our own unique challenges that others can never fully see or understand. On the flip side of our Blended Family challenges are the children that enter our life - kids that we would never have the opportunity to know otherwise - let alone love if not for the family and life that came before us.
Part of loving our Step Kids is loving the way they love their Mom, acknowledging that their Mom played a role in the makeup of the child who is apart of our life. Not having their Mother would be like missing a piece of themselves - a piece that we as Step Mom's can never replicate or fill. We can love them like our own, but not like their Mother loves them. Just like our love is unique for the kids - so is the love of their Mother.
Update: Jax and Little Hart's Mom is home from the hospital - expected to make a full recovery. Little Hart never left her Mom's side at the hospital once she walked through the door of her hospital room. Thanks to everyone for their prayers during this time.