Thanksgiving is right around the corner and by now most have made plans as to where they will have dinner. It wasn’t until Halloween that we knew where we would go. For us it was an easy decision once we were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with Lorraine, Nikolaus mom. For those of you who are reading our blog for the first time Nikolaus is my stepson. He was an added bonus when I married Julio.
Our relationship wasn’t the best, communication was a key we were missing. For the past 10 years we have each spent time being defensive, we each wanted something but neither of our families knew how to go about it. On October 31st Julio forward me a message he had received from Lorraine inviting our family over for Thanksgiving dinner. At first I thought this has to have to been a mistake, I mean why would she want us to come over on a night when you are thankful for everyone around you?
After confirming this was not a message sent in error I started to think about the possibilities this would bring for our families, I know it wouldn’t mean we were best friends but if we could all just communicate that would be major progress.
Wednesday was here and my mom was visiting so we went shopping. We spoiled the big girls with dresses and new shoes Aria even got high heals, her first pair. While doing the driving around I talk to my mom about our plans and she reminded me to go with an open mind and heart, if things were meant to go right they would.
The day arrived and I wasn’t nervous I felt at peace. I knew it was the right thing to do. We woke up Thursday and hung out for a bit and then it was time to dress up. The kids were so excited to get all dressed up and go “see their brother’s room”. By 3:30pm everyone was ready to go and out the door we went. At about our half way point we ran into rain and I thought, well they say rain is lucky on your wedding day so may it means the same thing today and they I saw a faint rainbow.
At first it was faint but it was there, as I drove through traffic the rain slowed and the rainbow grew brighter. It was the sign everyone always looks for, the pot of gold under the rainbow. By 4:15pm we had arrived, I turned around and gave the kids the “mom speech”. The one where we tell them to be on their best behavior, this isn’t our house. We got out of the car and one by one the kids got out of the car, fixed our clothes, unloaded the diaper bag, desert and of course, wine!
We talked towards the door and the nerves started to set in but I kept walking. Before we made it to the door Nikolaus and Rose, Lorraines’ mom was standing outside ready to meet us. The nerves just went away, it was like we had done this before. While we have all met before it was different. We said our hello and walked in to see the rest of the family waiting to say hi. Dinner was almost all ready, set up beautifully on the island a buffet for everyone to enjoy.
By the end of the night and two bottles of wine later we all found ourselves in the kitchen cleaning up and laughing. Laughter filled the kitchen, the kids were having a great time and slowly we were breaking down walls. I am not sure if I am naïve in thinking this one time will be what brings us all together but I am happy to think that is.
Was it awkward? Yes, it was but it was worth it. We took a group picture one I am sure our children will enjoy looking at.
I think the moral of my story is this, we all go into being a step parent thinking we can have a different relationship. That we can be the ones to set the example for other step parents to keep the peace, to have a friendship with the other parent and you can be that one. Open the door and send the invite, it doesn’t to be Thanksgiving dinner it can be a simple lunch or playdate for the kids.
Be the parents who work together to bring both families together and show others it can be done. You don’t need to talk bad about each other or use your child as a messenger, you can be friends. It takes time and hard work but you can make it happen.
Are you a step parent? What is your relationship like, would you change it?