Candy corn, costumes, haunted houses, and apple cider. These are all some of the best things about Halloween, but they aren’t what make it my favorite holiday now. I’ve always been the biggest fan of Christmas, with the fluffy snow, silver bells, and thoughtful gifts for all of my loved ones. Since I’m become a stepmom, every holiday has become more significant, but one stands out much more than others for a special reason.
I still really love Christmas, but after last year, Halloween has skyrocketed up the list into the top spot of my favorite holidays. Why, you ask?
Well, building a blended family life can be a slow, rigorous journey with some painful bumps along the road. While everyone is settling into a new dynamic, it’s normal to keep things separate for the child, sometimes for good, and other times just until every parent involved gets used to the new traditions, routines and people who are going to be part of them.
One of the hardest parts about the beginning stages of becoming a blended family is speed. When my relationship with Jen began to get more serious, I wanted to be with my partner and her daughter all the time, but it’s not that easy. I might have been ready to spend all of my hours and days with both of them, but a toddler’s routing shouldn’t be disrupted so easily. Mia was still adjusting to having two houses, and she was still getting used to having this new person around, trying to figure out where I fit into her life.
Integrating myself organically into both everyday and milestone family events is a delicate process, as not only Mia, but also her other mother had to get used to having me around. The first year we were together, holidays, recitals, and school activities were rough. Sometimes we switched off, sometimes I stayed home. There really isn’t an all-encompassing answer on how to handle these things. We tried out separate birthday parties. We tried sitting together for a dance recital. It’s all trial and error.
Last Halloween, we made the big jump. We, meaning all THREE of Mia’s Moms, decided to take on the tradition of Trick-or-Treat together. Mia was with Mama that evening, so Jen and I met them at their house to take some pre-gaming pics before Candyfest 2016 began.
Mama made me coffee. We all split up the candy stash together afterward. We took turns holding Mia’s hand from house to house. I took photos of the little Tiger as she growled proudly at the camera, exuberant and free, without a care in the world because her whole family was there.
To say I was nervous to break that ice is an understatement, but that day was an important benchmark as we approached our wedding and took steps to build our life together. It’s easier to keep thing separated, but the harder lines to cross are the ones that are the most worth it, because blended is always better together.
Trick-or-treat is at our house this year, and our little Tiger wants to be a Witch. I’ll be making the coffee. So if you see a pointy black hat trying to tame some fiery red hair and three moms chasing after her with a broom, don’t be alarmed. That’s just the McDonough clan, enjoying this Stepmom’s new favorite holiday.