“It’s Joris’ and my anniversary today. As I sit and reflect on this, I have to recognize it’s also ‘our’ anniversary—as a family. When I was a little girl, I didn’t dream about weddings or having loads of babies. I dreamt of adventure, of a great big world I had yet to discover. For various reasons I won’t get into, my personal journey in this world was about giving birth to myself, and figuring out who I was.
It wasn’t a decision I made. I didn’t need to make the decision; I always knew. As you can imagine I’ve faced many judgments and questions. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean it’s my life’s duty to deliver a child into this world. To all you nay-sayers – no, I don’t have a single regret, but that’s not what this is about.
I did know for sure I had a lot of positive influence and love to offer children. I wanted them in my life—nieces, nephews, friends’ kids, and yes, step kids. The perfect scenario was a loving partner who shared the same values and who already had kids. Joris was (is) my great love. I had let him go and hoped I’d find someone with whom I felt as safe as I did when I was with him many years ago.
Imagine my heart when he walked back into my life with these two beautiful kids. I hit the love and family jackpot. This man, this family, has taught me more about myself, love, support, connection, patience, and understanding than I ever thought possible. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching. I have spent an exorbitant amount of time alone ‘doing the heart work,’ but none of that is any good until you put it to the test.
Yes, it’s tested me on all levels of my being. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Becoming an overnight parent was a massive adjustment. I fiercely value my independence and my ability to pack a suitcase and hop on a plane on a whim. After becoming a stepmother, I learned you can have it all!
I am about to hop on a plane alone, I hop on and off planes with Joris, and here as a family, we hopped on a plane to spend 18 glorious days in the Bahamas. This crazy little family, and these kids, teach (challenge) me so much every day. I couldn’t be more grateful or more in love. Happy anniversary to us!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Penny Light. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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