Meant To Be
Guest Column By Tiffany Haywood
Marriage in itself is full of lessons. The ones you learn as a couple and as a family. Yet as a person who entered my marriage under somewhat non-traditional circumstances many of the lessons I learned were different. They were lessons learned through my personal life experiences and valued more through the experiences I shared later with my husband.
I was that girl who never thought I would be married. I was selfish and okay with it. Determined and owning it. Focused and loving it. I knew what I wanted, when and how I planned to get it. Then, life. I became a teen mom at 17. I still had my goals and plans yet having my son opened up a different place in my heart. It was no longer all about me. I had another person - my baby - who needed me to make those goals and plans happen with him in mind. This included my choices in relationships.
I had to always keep in mind that a relationship with me also meant a relationship with my son. That isn't something everyone is ready for. Still, I made the conscious choice not to allow my current circumstances to become my permanent situation. I knew life would bring the right man and I together. So, I waited. I still believed in the 'meant to be' part of love.
Meant To Be
As I waited for my one person, I parented, worked and lived. I built the foundation for my life with my son and what I would need to take us forward. It wasn't always easy but it was necessary. One day on my way to work I met this guy. He was my cab driver and over the next few weeks I noticed he was outside my train everyday.
We talked, we learned more about each other and our lives. As time passed, we realized we had a lot in common. Friendship came then more. In my heart I knew I needed someone who not only understood my status as a single mom but would be able to accept my son as his own.
He was that someone. He knew. He understood. He was a single Dad. He raised his oldest own his own and then raised his youngest as an active part of his life. He lived the same struggles and knew what it meant to live for the better of your kids. We were searching for the same thing and found it in each other.
Now That We Found Love
Through that foundation of friendship our love grew. We knew what we wanted was a forever love. Yet like I said, our love was not traditional. Circumstances were different and therefore our approach had to be as well. We started to build on our love starting with our kids.
We gave them time. Time to grow from strangers, to friends, to brothers. I say grow because it was a process. Coming together as two people with our own parenting styles and children used to their own ways wasn't easy. It took adjustments, compromise and at times complete change. Yet we did it.
As two families trying to become one team we felt our children needed to know and create bonds with each other. We let them have play dates, fun days and time to get to know each other. It was through this time we managed to find a balance of who we were as individuals and who we could be as a couple - a family. We found this through love.
It Takes A Team
14 years later, we're still here. Thriving, living, loving, laughing and still growing as a family! We took our individual strengths and skills bringing them together for the good of everyone. We became a Team. Teaching our children that having different parents makes no difference. When we added 3 more children into the mix we taught them the same. Whether you have different Fathers or Mothers we are still together in all we do - because we choose to be.
It's that approach that has helped my husband and I go from friendship to relationship to partners in marriage all while bringing together our children and lives into one home. As a family of 6 children and 2 adults we are not what many would consider typical. We are what most see as blended yet to us we are simply family. Our marriage made that so and it's our love and determination that keeps us that way.
If you're in the process of becoming a blended family or even already there, remember: you never have to give up or lose who you were before you only need to find a way to take the best of both and make it work for who you are now.
Tiffany is the ‘Tee’ behind TheMrsTee.com - a lifestyle blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. She enjoys sharing her experiences as a Woman of Faith, Wife, Momma to her Team (4 beautiful kiddies and 2 handsome stepsons) and Friend.