The weather is insane here. Almost 70 degrees today and very close to that yesterday.
So after school, we headed to Spearfish to play at the park.
Claire (with an awful bad mood/attitude the past few days…needs more sleep or a pop on the butt. Something!) decided she wanted to play alone and left Cade, Grace, the baby, and I to do our own thing.
So we took some pictures (Caeden is behind me for all of these, trying to get Avery to look this way. He never does look, of course.), walked around, and played.
(Meanwhile, Claire is happily playing “Princess” in the play structure and refuses to be a part of any of this.)
First up is Grace and Avery. Grace is truly a sweet, doting sister. Asks me all the time, “Do you love having babies? Because I love being a sister.” Makes my heart swell for obvious reasons. This little buddy has tied us all together in a way that cannot be undone.
She doesn’t let up, either. Just before school, while we are still in the SUV, she reminds me not to forget to give Avery a nap. And also to remember to feed him.
I’d be insulted if Caeden or Claire ever said these things to me, haha. But it’s just Grace being a little Mommy. Very sweet.
Cade made it into a picture! He and Grace are pretty close – they tend to play better together (both like video games whereas Claire does not), and hang out quite a bit. It’s a funny dynamic, but it’s very easy to think Grace and Caeden are the older siblings, and Claire and Avery the youngest.
Love getting a picture of them together because rarely do you see how their relationship works -how close they really are. Rarely (in pictures) is it just them.
They act just like brother and sister. Caeden calls Grace out a lot on things (like being bossy) and Grace lets him (whereas she would never let Claire get away with that). And in the next breath, he defends her. It makes me happy to see how much he loves her (he knows our schedule for her down cold and looks forward to Mondays and the Tuesdays when we can get her from school).
A weak/hard dynamic between the kids was a fear I had (and sometimes still do) when we initially got married. Would Caeden and Claire feel left out because my name was Johnson (as was Grace and Rylan’s)? Would Grace feel weird coming and going? Would she be able to pick up where she left off?
The entire thing, (and from what I hear from other blended families — it is normal), has taken time. We have all needed to get used to the way things are.
Grace has another home and her own Mom. Her own toys and her own rules when she is there.
When she is here, she has learned to share, to follow our family rules, and somehow this girl has learned to transition back and forth like a champ.
It hasn’t always been so easy, especially when she was much younger, but now things flow pretty easily.
We find ourselves waiting for Grace (which is a hard thing because life still needs to go on when she isn’t here, but it feels like we are cheating her when we do things without her … so we wait … and then she comes home and tells us all the cool things she did with her Mom and I get dirty looks from Caeden and Claire … haha … oops.).
And Caeden and Claire have taken her in as one of their own. Neither would ever EVER ever say that Grace wasn’t their sister.
Just yesterday we ran into Grace’s teacher at Walmart, and she was visiting with Claire. Claire said, “I’m Claire. Grace’s sister.”
And while Grace acknowledges me as her step-mom, she doesn’t associate c2 as step-siblings, which is so wonderful.
I want them to always have each other. And they will.
I think about the girls going to college around the same time, having a career, getting married and then starting families … they will have each other through it all.
When I think about all of this, having a big family is worth every sleepless night, chaotic morning, and each busy, busy, evening.
What we are building will last forever.
Anyway! Not sure where that came from, but back to the play by play:
After the park, we headed to Walmart, because the kids each had their own gift cards to shop with (thanks again, Aunt Pam!).
Caeden got donuts (Please don’t get me started. Makes my skin crawl but he was in tears because every Xbox game he wanted I told him no (all rated M), and he is too old for toys, and he loves to eat … and Aunt Pam said he could use it for anything he wanted without interference from his Mother. SO. Donuts.).
Claire got a mermaid doll because “her tail is squishy.”
Grace scored twin baby girls. (Twins that I must also feed and put down for naps while she is at school, mind you.)
Then we came home late – past dinner time, past bath time, and let the night’s routine slide.
It felt good to be outside and enjoy the kids instead of just “managing” the day.
To let them set the tone.
Felt like summertime!