Growing up, I had a lot of male friends but really wasn’t interested in the dating scene. I enjoyed the single, “no care in the world” lifestyle. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I was even interested in possibly finding someone to share my life with. Something shifted and I was ready. I didn’t want to “casually date.” I wanted to meet someone for the long run. Someone to share my life with and build memories.
I had noticed that meeting someone around my age (28 at the time) with no past wasn’t as easy as I imagined. I had no interest in dating someone who had children and cringed at the thought of having to deal with “baby mama drama.” I was so used to being the “borrow and give back” Aunty for so many years!
Love is definitely blind!
Then I met Nick. All my do’s and don’ts went out the window. He lived 50+ miles away from me, he had been married before AND he had a daughter. I was going all in on something I was so unfamiliar with. I was so in love that accepting it all just came easy.
After the divorce, Nick never introduced Dominique to anyone he was dating. He wanted to wait until he knew that what we had together was serious. I easily respected that decision, selfishly knowing, I would most likely get attached and would have a harder time with the break-up if things didn’t work out.
About 3 months in we decided to meet at Disneyland. Dominique and Nick were going to spend the day there, so we planned that I would meet up with them later. I was so nervous. She had just turned 8, had a little personality of her own and never had to share her Daddy before. Every emotion went through my head. I knew that if she and I didn’t mesh well, Nick and I would be over. Even though, it had only been 3 months of dating I knew he was THE ONE. And, I knew I wanted to build the rest of our lives together…the 3 of us!
“This is my friend Jo.” I held my breath for a reaction. Just like a typical 8-year-old, she seemed less focused on me and ready to go on the next ride. All of the jitters and nervousness went away. The meeting was great! We had so much fun! The setting was perfect and appropriate for the timing.
As time went on, the three of us continued to do things together. Nick knew it was time to talk and explain his feelings for me to her. He asked her opinion and he easily got the “Eh she’s pretty cool” answer. That was good enough for me!
A few years had gone by. We got engaged and talked often about having a baby of our own. (Yes, the one who had no desire of being a Mom, has not only completely attached herself to Dominique but also wanted a baby.) We openly discussed our future as a family with Dominique, always keeping things transparent and encouraging the role of becoming a big sister one day. Fortunately, she was very accepting of the idea.
We got married 4yrs after dating. Our wedding was perfect. Dominique gave her Daddy away, taking her duties of walking him down the aisle very serious. I made vows to not only her Dad but to her. Promising her equal love (if not more) than I have for her Dad. It was an amazing day of union!
Nick and I had been trying to have a baby a couple years before the wedding. Unfortunately, I had learned that I had fertility complications and getting pregnant was going to take some work. We kept this from Dominique, that way the anticipation wouldn’t be as disappointing as it had been for us. We postponed treatment 6 months prior to wedding, allowing ourselves a break and to concentrate on all the excitement of getting married.
Shortly after the wedding in October we started treatment again and I was pregnant in February. Things happen when they are supposed, and apparently the years prior was not the right time for our family. Our little panda Bodhi came early on September 1st, our family was complete with our girl and boy!
Being a Bonus Mom isn’t easy.
I knew from day one that things wouldn’t always be fun, and I may not always be liked, but I would always LOVE as hard as I could. Long before I married Nick I knew that Dominique was part of the package, and if that wasn’t something I didn’t think I could handle I needed to find someone else. I learned that if I was going to love Dominique, I had to learn to love one of the most important people in her life, her Mom. There may be times we don’t agree, and communication is lost, but we will always have one thing in common, the love for OUR daughter.
This life isn’t for everyone, and that doesn’t make you any less of a woman or mother if you don’t choose it; but I absolutely love it! I’ve matured into a woman that I never thought I would have the ability to be. I am blessed with the opportunity to help raise the most inspiring, witty, love-able young lady.