Six years ago, I gave my heart away. The tall, bright eyed drink of water with whom I fell in love was a package deal, with kids in tow, much like myself.
We brought together my two kids and his four, and set about mingling six step siblings, who lived all over town and in very different environments. Our kids became the best of friends, which made it easy, but we were careful not to be too confident. I knew challenges would lie ahead; blending our families would be complicated and my role not always clear.
I just didn’t know that one day soon, a piece of my heart would be moved across the country without me, without my permission. I would be powerless to stop it, and heartbroken, yet completely okay with it.
A New State
Our family has a little practice at missing each other- busy high school schedules and living on opposite sides of town will do that to you. Our eldest son already works full time and is getting a place of his own. Having the kids together in the same weekend is serendipitous; it rarely happens.
So, when we were recently informed that our eldest daughter was moving with her family to another state, it felt a little unfair. We know this is what is best for her and her family, but two hours distance is a lot closer than two days.
I didn’t think I would cry, at least not for myself. But it turns out, I’m not just sad for my kids or my husband, I’m sad for me, too. I love her and I love seeing the kids all together, so different, so much alike. As we watched our girls embrace for what might be the last time in a long time, our hearts broke wide open and the love poured from our eyes.
A New Beginning
We’re unmoored. My step children, being the oldest in the bunch, have given me a rather lively crash course in watching kids grow up. Really grow up- like, moving away from home. I was unprepared.
We won’t sulk. Sulking is based in fear. Instead, we’ll plan road trips to see her. We’ll Skype our Sunday dinners. The girls can always text. It will be just like she’s off at college, which would have happened one day, anyway. Littles don’t stay little; they eventually move away. Hopefully, if you did something right, they’ll be back to see you.
When I start feeling like I didn’t get enough time with her, I’ll remind myself that children growing up means an exciting new chapter in the life of a parent. Soon, we’ll be talking colleges and careers, travel and relationships. And I’m okay with that. Because I know she’ll be back.
Have you experienced a step child moving away with their biological parent? What was the hardest part?