Our trip to the Mall of America last weekend was more than just a fun day. For me, it marks a turning point in our journey.
One of the aspects I have struggled the most with since the wedding has been having less alone time with my boys. I haven't shared this with very many people, but I feel compelled to share it now. I want to be real, and this is part of the reality for me of blending our two families together ~ which is far more complex than I imagined it would be.
Prior to meeting Vince, it was just me & my boys. For the 3 years that I was single, and honestly from the day of their births, I focused the majority of my time and energy on them...maybe too much. During my season of life as a single mom, I did learn to make time for myself and do things that I enjoyed and had never taken the time to do before, but that time was usually spent when the boys were with their dad. I missed them terribly, so the time they were with me was precious and my focus was on them. We had alot of alone time to cuddle on the couch and watch a movie, or just sit and talk.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:19
Enter the Howards! Praise the Lord, enter the Howards!! God brought this beautiful family, this wonderful love into not only my life, but our lives. The boys were excited at first. For some time Nick had been asking me "mom, when are you going to get a boyfriend?" He longed for a father figure in our home, and even step-siblings. (There were plenty of nights and weekends when 'just mom' was just boring). So the boys were excited...until they started seeing mom giving attention and affection to these 'new kids'. Suddenly it wasn't so exciting anymore. Some jealousies developed and as my relationships with the Howard kids deepened (remember this?), my boys felt a kind of betrayal. Those alone times that we had cherished were suddenly few and far between and since the wedding it has not helped for the boys to realize that I spend more time with their new siblings than I do with them. That hurt them, and may I be so bold to admit that it hurt me too.
That has been hard for me to deal with and there have been times that I have felt torn. Knowing that loving my new children was hurting my boys...I didn't know how to deal with that. It's something I have taken to the throne in prayer many, many times. I've always known the answer isn't to hold back, that's not showing the love of Christ. It's not fair to my new kids either, and besides...they are in my heart. I love them deeply and I can't and won't hide that from them, from my boys, or anyone else.
So what does this all have to do with last Saturday and going to the Mall of America? Well, this week Nick and Kyle are in Florida at Disneyworld with their dad and grandparents. It is bitter-sweet for me as I am really excited for them, but I am not there to experience it with them. Sigh. (More than sigh, but I'm not going to go down that road). So last week, Vince saw the emotions of this start to show, so he encouraged me to plan some time for just the boys and I to do something fun together. We had planned to go to Chucky Cheeses - just the three of us - on Saturday. But when the day came, it just didn't feel right. To any of us. Nick was the first to speak up. "Mom, I know you want to spend time with us, and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but can't we all go?" And you know what? I was relieved. I had been feeling the same tug at my heart. We had turned the corner from missing the times when it was "just us" to feeling that something was missing if it wasn't "all of us".
Thank you, Lord. I see Your hand at work, hear Your hammer driving in the nails, feel the slap of bricks on mortar as day by day You continue to build our house.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain..." Psalm 127:1