This is a picture of my husband (then boyfriend) and my daughter Quinn on her 4th birthday. We had been dating for around 10 months when this picture was taken. She was having a Nemo pool party and she wanted her nails done and being that he is a girl dad, he was happy to oblige.
This is Quinn now, 4 years later, fast approaching 9 years old. She is my youngest and my baby.
This is Sayler right around the time I started to date Nick. She was 7 years old.
This is Sayler now. 13 years old and taller than me!
Here is Meredith at a birthday party about a year after I met Nick. She was 10 years old.
This is Meredith NOW. 15 years old with a school permit and her first car.
So what's the point in showing these pictures other than my kids are growing like weeds and that time flies? I guess that would be part of it, but the main reason is to show why I'm going to have to start saying NO.
The last few years have been very draining on me. Our girls started going to three different schools. Meredith is in swimming, Sayler is in soccer, and Quinn transitioned from dance to gymnastics. This means I spend a lot of time in my car. I also work full-time. I am a Deaconess at my church, one of the wedding coordinators, and I also assist with the women's ministries. Not only do I have my little family, but I still join gatherings and birthdays for my side (which is also blended), my husband's side, and I run my girls to their side as well. I'd say about 98% of the time I am making some type of food for these gatherings, and it's also fair to say that at least half of these are in my home.
This is me hugging one of my nieces (from my old family) during a drop-off.
I'm sure that most of you are in the same boat as me. Running around being a working mom, trying to get everything done. I'm not trying to say that I'm any different or that I have it any worse than anyone else. I do, however, have a few obstacles that make things a tad harder for me. I have some good days and some bad, but planning things in advance gets really tough when pain wants to take you down. It's very hard to keep your chin up and not feel like a failure.
My daughters with their cousins on their dad's side. My bunnies!
Now when I say my "old" family, I assume you know I am referring to my family during my first marriage. It's not easy to leave 7 nieces and nephews behind. In the past few years, my heart has grieved for my old family, especially during birthdays and holidays. I love my new family very much, and I know they love my children, but you can never force a bond. The bond my children have with their family on their dad's side is very special. It's not something that can be helped, but for me, it's very painful as I grew up in a blended family as well. Even though you love people that aren't your blood and feel like they are your family, it doesn't mean they will love you back the same way. Not like their "real" grandkids and nieces & nephews. At least not in my experience. Dealing with this loss and pain during drop-offs has taken some time to heal, and I'm still not all the way there. I am grateful that I can still be hugged and called Aunt Dannette...it does help ease the pain a bit.
My girls are related to Abraham Lincoln on their dad's side!
One more thing has happened in the last year that has made my heart very heavy, and made it a bit hard to pull myself back up. My ex-husband was sent to prison for 27 years, 7 of them mandatory. This obviously broke my children's hearts. Watching your children in pain is hard. It's even harder when it's something you can do nothing about. They love their dad very, very much. Mommy can only do so much to ease the pain of him not being there. There has been a lot of tears, and a lot of questions. With lots of love and support, they have come a long way. This is why I work so hard at those drop-offs. They need to be around their family as much as possible as nobody else can ease their pain the way that their dad's family can during this time.
Our beautiful girls in church
So I guess the point of me sharing all of this is that I feel I've been a bit flaky the past year or so. I can't seem to give 100% to anything because not only am I spread too thin, but my heart has also been a bit heavy. I do feel as far as that goes, I'm coming out on the other side. I have a wonderful relationship with my old family, and we have all pulled together for my girl's sake. I also have a very loving and supportive husband. I honestly don't know if I could survive without the peace he brings to my heart, and love he gives to my girls.
As far as any extra duties in my life, I have decided that I need to take a step back. I do love being involved in church and helping others, but I've finally realized that it's taking a toll on me. The worst part is that when I want to do something with these three growing girls, I am too tired to fully be there and enjoy it. This is my last shot! I will not have more children. This is it! They will soon be gone and I know I will regret not making this time the best it can be. I am sure that everyone will understand, or at least, I hope they do. Right now not only do my girls need to come first, but so do I. I am nothing to nobody if I don't take care of myself.
This was the last time I was able to hold my baby. Thanks to my friend Jamie for capturing the moment as it's now just a memory.
I'm off to make today a better one!
Love & Blessings, Dannette