Our First Blended Birthday Celebration Yesterday, my daughter celebrated 17 years in this beautiful world. She is growing up to be such a kind and positive young lady. There is no doubt in my mind this girl is going to do great things in her life. She reminds me of myself in so many ways and I haven’t determined if that scares me more than it brings me peace, ha! Hey, I figure I didn’t turn out half bad so it must be a good sign that she has so much of me inside her.

Her birthday is always a blessing to be celebrated, however, this year, our blended family had an overwhelming number of blessings to acknowledge and be grateful for. I just can’t help but think this whole book writing adventure is helping to bring us even closer together than we ever thought we would be which is something none of us expected but I can’t help but notice and be grateful for it.

I have always had a close and positive relationship with my ex-husband and his wife, Tina. That is why Tina and I recently decided to come together and co-author a book all about our journey as a blended family. Oddly enough, we have never celebrated our children’s birthdays together. For the past 13 years we’ve always had separate celebrations. They would have a party at their dad’s house with his family and a party at my house with my family. It’s just never crossed my mind to celebrate together because we’ve just always celebrated separately.

This year was different and I can’t help but think it’s the whole book process that is forging us into an even BETTER co-parenting relationship. Just when you think you are good at something, God pushes you to grow even better. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

This year, my 17 year old took it upon herself to coordinate a joint birthday party that included both of our families, her Dad and Tina’s, as well as myself and my immediate family. My daughter sent me a message asking if it was O.K. to invite everyone to the local pizza place for birthday dinner. I wrote back right away with “Of course! Great idea!” My mommy heart was exploding with the warm fuzzies as soon as I read it. To be honest, I wish I would have thought of the idea myself! It means so much to me though, knowing that my daughter wanted us all to be together and, more importantly, wasn’t afraid to ask. Why it took us 17 years to do it, I’m not sure, but I’m glad she broke the ice and made it happen.

It was one of those occasions where I had to just sit back, take it all in and give myself an invisible high five. One of those “See? Don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re all doing great!” type of moments. They always seem to come along just when you start to doubt yourself.

But wait, I have even more exciting news to share. We are also planning our first ever blended family vacation as a way to celebrate the book after it officially launches! I tossed the idea out there one evening and Shawn and Tina both just chuckled at the idea because they assumed I was kidding but Tina sent me a text message the next morning asking if I was serious about planning a vacation together. I giggled and responded to her right away with “Yes! 100% serious!”

If you think about it, it’s a perfect plan. I am still not 100% confident traveling alone with the kids so it would be nice to have the extra adult bodies along in that respect. PLUS, it would give each of us the opportunity to have some time with the kids by ourselves and then some adult time without any kids too! It’s a win/win for all of us as far as I’m concerned. Genius, really.

I just keep thinking back to all the hard decisions, all the hard conversations and all the GRACE that had to be extended to get our relationship to be where we are today and I think to myself, man, look at all the great things we all would have missed out on if we had continued to harbor anger and resentment towards each other. We would have totally different lives and totally different children, I’m sure of it. There is just nothing to gain when you focus on all the negative things. It’s like they always say… “It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!” Always keep your eyes, heart and mind on the bigger picture my friends because I can tell your from experience that IT IS ALL WORTH IT!

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