Sunday, March 29, 2015

winging it.

I'm so happy to say that Vivian is here! If you don't know who that is, Vivian is my husband's ten-year-old daughter. She's a gentle heart. She's a fiery soul. And she's 100 kinds of happiness all twisted in one little ball of red-headed love. She's my step-daughter. She's my friend.

When Jeremiah asked me out on our first date, I had a lot to think about. I knew he had a daughter and I knew that came with a lot of responsibility and sacrifice. I knew that it was foreign territory for me. What the hell did I know about being a parent? (Answer: nothing.) I knew that dating a man with a child wasn't anywhere I ever thought I would be, but as I found myself going to hang out with Jeremiah more and more, I knew that none of that mattered. I knew that I loved him and with that--I loved every bit of him, including Vivian.

If you know Vivian, you know that it's impossible not to love her. Her smile radiates, her jokes are hilarious (seriously, have her tell you one), and she loves hard (just like her dad). I was ridiculously nervous to meet her for the first time. It took some time for us to meet because right when Jeremiah and I started dating, Vivian and her mom moved to San Francisco. Jeremiah went there to visit a few times while we were dating, but it was too soon in the relationship for me to be tagging along. We were about 7 months in before I got to meet Viv face-to-face.

I walked up to Jeremiah's parent's house--hands shaking, palms sweating, my heart was in my stomach--thinking about how if this little girl doesn't like me, I'm screwed. I had to pass The Vivian Test. I rang the doorbell, knowing that today could very well seal my fate, and there she was: bright-eyed and all smiles with a white sundress on. She looked at me and said, "HI KATIE! I'm reading some stories. Can I read to you?"

From then on, we were buddies.

It has been an adventure navigating from "daddy's girlfriend" to "stepmother," but I think she and I are handling it quite swimmingly. Jeremiah and I try to see Vivian as much as we can (she's still living in San Francisco) and each time we're together, I can feel our bond strengthening. I'm also very fortunate that her mom has been a huge supporter of mine. I can't say enough good things about Michelle and her words of kindness and support for me and for Jeremiah. No family is perfect, but our "modern family" makes it work as best we know how. People always give me weird looks when I say that when Jeremiah and I go to San Francisco to see Viv that we stay with Vivian and her mom. I usually get met with, "How does THAT work?"

It just does.

Step-parenting is never a role I thought I would be in, but I'm so happy that it is. Because Jeremiah and Vivian are two-for-one deal that I couldn't be happier to have. Sure, it's overwhelming at times and there are moments ,I feel too young to be a "stepmom," but that's just the technical term, right? I'm a stepmom, yes. But I'm also a listener and a helper and a teacher and a laugh-buddy and a friend. It's complicated and weird and seriously, we're just winging it.

But for winging it, I think we're doing a pretty damn good job.


  1. The sweetest! She is lucky to have you and you will prove to be such a wonderful part of her life. Who your biological parents are is an important part of who you are...but there's this amazing, wonderful, awesome thing that happens when you have "another" parent. Especially when it's embraced in such a positive way. You are truly one of my favorite people TK! Xo Coco

  2. This. Is. Amazing. Every time I think you and your family can't be any more loving, sweet, and amazing, you write or do or say something amazinger. :-) Thank you, Katie, for gifting us with your thoughts.