That was unexpected…

happyland girl in pushchair

Back in 2005 I was young (30-something!) free and single. I had previously been married (for 7 months!) and divorced but never had I felt any kind of biological ticking (fortunately!). I was on the lookout for my next victim love but, when you get to such a ripe old age you become quite picky. At the age of 22 you may have been quite happy to date a smoker/workaholic/football fanatic/[add personal bugbear here] but you learn from your mistakes and a subtle “vetting” process inserts itself into your dealings with the opposite sex (maybe I should have just gone all out and created a tickbox survey and spreadsheet…) So when I met the hubster I was resistant to his charms for some time.

To this day he will happily tell all and sundry that I refused to date him for months because, in my words, he was too short, too young (four years my junior) and had a daughter from a previous relationship. Let me explain my thought process – firstly Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman/Katie Holmes Syndrome – I just didn’t want to end up standing in a hole next to a man in platforms on my wedding day, alright? Secondly, what could be worse than spending the rest of your life with someone who’s going to constantly remind you how old you are? Thirdly, a child from a previous relationship? In my mind this spoke of acrimonious and ongoing dealings with your partner’s ex and a never-ending competition of popularity for your partner’s focus and attention (which you can never really win) selfish as that may sound.

To cut a long story short I gave in to the pressure – he turned out to be someone I felt completely at ease with – we made each other laugh and, after some unpleasant dating experiences previously, I knew that I had found someone who was serious about liking me for me and who wanted to make a commitment for the future.

Then I met his daughter just as she was turning two. And I fell in love with this adorable little girl. And that was completely unexpected. I was there to witness her potty training, developing language and flourishing little personality. One time she actually turned to me (at the Tescos checkout as I recall) and told me that I was her best friend. I was there for bathtimes and pajamas, Christmas celebrations and birthdays.

And then I felt a strange sensation from deep within, tick tock, tick tock. It was more than just the biological clock though, it was all bound up with the frustrations of knowing that, despite our bond, at the end of the day I was no-one to this little girl who would fiercely defend her mother to the ends of the earth (and yes, the acrimonious relationship with the ex did hold full sway in our lives for many years and is only now subsiding as she has recently given birth to a second child with another partner ten years down the line). When my step-daughter turned 5 I gave birth to JJ (exactly two years after our first attempts to conceive), followed, two years and 10 months later by EJ.

Unfortunately our relationship with my step-daughter has fallen away quite considerably as she has got older and I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel that same bond that I once did. But I am so thankful that I was able to have children of my own – I always knew that I wanted to be a mother one day but it took an awful long time for that urge to kick in and it still surprises me how fierce it was and how unexpected a sensation.

This post was inspired by this week’s Prompt conceived by Sara over at Mum Turned Mom. I have also recently discovered another new linky called Share with Me over at Let’s Talk Mommy so I’m giving that a go too!

mumturnedmom

26 thoughts on “That was unexpected…

  1. Interesting to read this and get to know more about you. I met my husband when I was 20, so haven’t had this same vetting period, and I think as we were so young, we had no immediate plans for a family as felt we had loads of time for that later. My clock started ticking at 31, and Boo was here at 32!

    • To be honest Jocelyn, the vetting process was a massive fail!! There are so many things that I could live without – I think he feels the same though as we have a little catchphrase “You didn’t put that in your profile!” 😉

  2. The more I find out about you, the more I like you, Sam! What a shame you have not managed to keep s great relationship with your step-daughter, but I love your description of that urge to have children of your own… x Mel #ThePrompt

  3. Isn’t it funny how that clock suddenly starts to tick? I met my husband nearly eight years before we got married. We coasted along for ages and then suddenly within the space of two and a half years we got married and had two kids! x

  4. Glad those maternal instincts kicked in for you, and thinks worked out with the Hubster 🙂 it’s a shame about drifting apart from your step daughter, but perhaps you’ll become closer when the boys are a bit older #ThePrompt

    • She’s just such a busy girl – she does about a billion extra-curricular activities and seems to have a sleepover with a friend every weekend. Since having the boys she hasn’t had a room of her own in our house and its all taken its toll. I hope that one day she chooses to be a part of a lives by her own volition. There was too much game playing between her parents when she was younger. X

      • Oh that’s a shame hon, but really common in this situation from what I can gather. I’m sure she’ll choose to be a part of your life at some point though, these things usually come full circle xx

  5. Reading this made me emotional. You’re such a lovely person. Happy for you that you experienced the tickling of mommyhood… Love that you fell in love with the step daughter. Stay Blessed!

    #prompt

  6. This is a lovely, thoughtful, post.. You are so right about the differences between relationships in your early 20s vs those in later years… I put up with a fair bit in earlier relationships that I wouldn’t dream of tolerating now.

    Keep checking back in with your step daughter, am sure when the time is right you’ll be best buddies again – maybe you can be the fun aunty figure who picks her up from parties?! 🙂

    #ThePrompt

    • Hm I don’t know if I’ll ever regain that ‘fun auntie’ status again – she actually knows me as ‘Auntie Sam’ and always has done! When I married her father it was kind of weird to think of her as my step-daughter. I think any kind of relationship between us might have to wait a few years yet…

  7. What a lovely post Sam, and lovely to know more abut you. I am glad you gave in to the pressure and things worked out so well with you and your husband, and that you love the experience of being a mum so much, even when it isn’t easy! Difficult with your step-daughter but those relationships will always be tricky, one of my best friends broke up with her partner a couple of months after the birth of their child and a few years on it is so difficult for all of them at times, in very different ways. Plus I think relationships with pre-teens/tennagers are difficult enough anyway so things with your stepdaughter may naturally improve as she gets older! xx #theprompt

    • I’m so glad I didn’t have children before I was ready Caroline. It was hard and depressing enough even with the best will in the world! But then maybe when you’re younger you’re more reslilient and physically fitter, etc. Makes mothering easier as well? As my husband is a shift worker this has had a massive impact on their (all of our) relationships because he can’t have the every other weekend visitation rights and he’s rubbish about attempting to plan time for them in advance and his ex has always been very keen to make it as difficult as possible and be as obstructive as possible. I used to organise all the planning before I had kids of my own but I have my own priorities now and I feel it should be his responsibility. Its a sad state of affairs really. I really hope she comes back to us as a friend when she has grown. X

    • Thanks so much Merlinda! It is a bit weird being the older one isn’t it? Especially when the social norm is that the man is older than the woman. They can be very immature but I don’t think that changes throughout their lives really!!

  8. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I really enjoyed reading this and getting to know you and your lovely blog. Thanks for the introduction. That’s what I love about this linky getting to know more bloggers. I totally was nodding in agreement with your must haves before you met your person. 😉 I am from a huge mixed family and step-kids can be so hard on the new person, my mom was the new person and I watched her struggle with it later in the teenage years of you aren’t my mother and always being the bad guy when she wasn’t at all. It’s hard. So glad you had your own children and got to feel that bond. It’s magical. Which means I should say Happy Mother’s Day to you this Sunday! Teenagers are difficult at the best of times so take it in stride one day it might turn back around. Hopefully soon. #sharewithme Hope to see you again.

    • Thanks so much Jenny – you’re right it is really good getting to know new bloggers! My step-daughter is only nine (turns ten in May) so we’ve got a long way to go yet! I guess in one way its easier for me as she doesn’t live with us – I don’t have to do any of the disciplining so I’ll probably never get the bad teenage karma! Its a shame though because I longed for a daughter and irony would have it that I got two (gorgeous I might add!) sons instead whilst the hubster’s ex has just given birth to a second daughter. Up to now the girl has been the perfect spokespiece for her mother even telling me off for letting my children have the odd glass of lemonade! (Her mother is a dental nurse). Perhaps if she ever decides to do teenage rebellion then she’ll come to us… Thanks for hosting Share With Me and I’ll definitely be back! X

      • Would love you back anytime my lovely. Oh sorry that is a tough one. The best thing you can do is just treat her like you treat your own, my momma always said she had two of her own kids and five stepkids so she can relate to you all too well. I hope someday she realizes she can have both of you and her mother close. Sometimes stepkids dont realize they can have both. I have a stepmother too and at first I thought I can to be on my mothers side no matter what but then I realized there is no sides just be on both. Its hard though. Especially with hormones flying. 😉

  9. It’s really wonderful to learn a bit more about you Sam. I was in a serious relationship in my twenties, although we only got as far as living together; looking back it was his proposal that was the beginning of the end. I met my husband when we were in our late twenties. Relationships are very different as you move into your thirties, your priorities definitely change, and I had never felt any kind of clock until then. Although, I think that it was meeting my husband and knowing I wanted children with him, rather than just wanting children, that set mine off 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your story with #ThePrompt x

    • Thanks Sara! I guess I should just add, for anyone who isn’t and is never going to be in this boat, the older you get (within the biological window) the less possible it becomes to really hang around expecting a ‘soul mate’ to show up. I have made a lot of compromises and its not perfect. But we have a happy family now and whatever the future brings will lead to happiness somehow some way…

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