In my teenage years and through college, I had a pretty clear vision for what my first home was going to be. I was imagining a small apartment or a little townhouse, something in a big bustling city with very little square footage. What I was not expecting was a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house partially attached to a restaurant in a part of Pennsylvania that I had never visited let alone wanted to live in. Oh, and to make matters worse, it was the house my husband shared with his ex-wife and their children. Talk about an interesting start to marriage and my new family.
This living situation was definitely not something that I was looking forward to and I was having extreme apprehension about the impending move in date. In the weeks leading up to our wedding, we did everything we could to make it look like a completely different house. We scrubbed the walls and repainted, tore out all the carpet and replace the floors, and we even switch rooms around so that we wouldn’t be sharing the same master bedroom. Every last bit of the money we were gifted at our wedding went into making the best of a horrible situation. What I didn’t realize was the effect that would have on the children. It took a lot of time, hard work, and friends and family volunteering man hours to make these adjustments. Then, the inevitable happened. We moved in… all 5 of us.
For several months we had to field questions about why so much had changed. I had to endure comments like: that’s not where mom had it, or remember the time that mommy and daddy (fill in the blank). I hate to admit it, but there were times that I wished I could just pack a bag and go to a hotel during the kids’ time with us. Now, a few years on and the new house later, I’m realizing just how difficult all of those adjustments were for those kids. The only thing that remained the same through the divorce and custody battle had now become completely different – yet another shadow of what used to be.
Looking back, I see one significant way that God intervened in those awkward and pain filled first few weeks. There are many things during that time I did not handle properly, but this one shining moment really helped us all grow in our acceptance of the situation. One sunny afternoon we did a family project. We loaded up in the car, headed to the craft store, got a large canvas for each of us, chose our favorite colors of paint, and went outside to have a blast. It’s still one of the kids’ fondest memories of our time together in that house. We made gigantic paint splatter works of art that were hung as the centerpiece of the old/new living room. So much in that house I changed for my sanity, and so little was kept for their emotional safety and security. I know God used this little project to bring us together and show the kids that I truly did want them there, despite my lack of showing it at times. I wish I could’ve been the bigger person back then, but I’m so thankful that God drop that idea into my heart to help the kids feel at home in this house. To this day, even in our new house, those pictures hang over the couch as a reminder that we got through that rough transition together.
We Want To Hear From You:
What are some moments you can look back on now and see things from the perspective of your stepchild(ren)? What could you have done differently? How will this affect how you view things in the future?
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