|My stepdaughter, T. Photo by Jennifer Flanagan of Image Market Photography|
So when I found out the guy I was falling for had a 12 year old daughter, I must confess, I freaked out a little. This wasn't part of the plan. What if she doesn't like me? What if she's mean to me? What if I meet her, fall in love with her, and then it doesn't work out between me and her dad? What if it's too weird that I'm only 10 years older than her? (my husband is 12 years older than me, which put my age right in the middle)The what-if's piled high.
I remember the first time I met T, I was super nervous--it was like being on an awkward first date. It was a pretty big deal for me. My palms were sweaty. I actually still remember what I was wearing. We met up at a local art gallery where T and her dad were taking part in a parent/child art exhibit (PS: both of them are awesome artists!).
And the thing is, as scary as the whole thing seemed at first, once I got to know her, I realized how lucky I was. She was (and is) really genuine, interesting, mature, smart as all get out, and hipper than I can keep up with.
My relationship with her was never really a mother/child thing, so we avoided all the drama of "you're not my real mom" and so on. Instead, it felt more like a kid sister relationship. In fact, she was actually born the exact same year as my little sister who passed away as a baby (see the post I Get It). As such, I could offer more candid advice about things like clothes, boys, friends, music. While I didn't pretend to know what it was like to be a pre-teen right then, it wasn't so far away that I couldn't remember.
The times we spent together, we formed a fun, if somewhat clunky, little family. When the three of us would go out, I think people were slightly confused about why a 34 year old, a 22 year old, and a 12 year old were all hanging out. But it worked perfectly.
When her dad and I got married 2 years ago, we had a very small wedding in Jamaica with T, my parents and sisters, and my best friend. T did us the honors of taking our wedding pictures and also serving as best man and maid of honor. By marrying her dad, I truly felt like I was also marrying her in a way--shrugging off my single status and becoming a wife and step-mom all in one day.
|T's photo of me and her dad on our wedding day in Jamaica. Yes, we're really in the ocean and yes, she is a really talented photographer!|
|Photo by Image Market Photography|