Babies in a Stepfamily


Laura Petherbridge, for Family Matters, shares the details of more joyous stepfamily discoveries.

“Is this how you felt when Colin and Erin were born?” I softly asked Steve, my husband.

“Yes.” He replied. “And when the grandchildren begin to arrive it is one more reminder of how stepfamilies are different than first-time marriages.”

Although I was very excited and happy when his grandchildren came into the world, I wasn’t weepy or in awe like he was. I just thought he was getting older and sentimental. As a woman without children, the closest I ever came to that emotional experience was when my brother’s baby, Melissa, was born.  I didn’t realize that the moment I gazed at her tender face, a piece of my heart was hers.

The same thing happened when her sister, Maria, arrived four years later. However, I was a bit more prepared. Now Melissa is 28, and having a baby of her own.  How can this be? I find myself crying every time I think of Milana, God’s newest masterpiece. And I whisper to Him, “I’m so amazed by how much I love her and she hasn’t even arrived. How can I love someone who hasn’t taken in oxygen yet?”

Trying to make sense of it all I look to Steve for insight. And after twenty-six years of marriage, Milana has caused the two of us to stumble upon the newest step family discovery. Steve can merely look at Colin or Erin—his grandkids—and cry. This is now how I feel about Milana.

That doesn’t mean I don’t love, care, or delight in Steve’s grandkids. I do. They bring total joy to my life.

But it’s different with Milana—not better, just different. I love her unconditionally merely because she is the child of my sweet niece. She is my brother’s grandchild, an addition to my family—my blood line.

There is something unexplainably mystifying about the bond between family members. There is nothing like it. No one can bring as much joy—or as much pain—as your own. This revelation helps me to understand why Steve melts whenever his grandkids ask him for something. And it teaches me to extend grace when I feel he is going overboard.

Just when I think I’m a stepfamily “expert,” and I know all the answers to stepfamily living, God allowed a little baby to reveal something wonderfully new. Hmmm… I remember another time when He brought a Baby into the world to shine light into a dark place. Isn’t that just like Him to do it again?

Written by Laura Petherbridge 


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