Now that I’m married, Isabella obviously is adjusting to having a stepfather. But she also has to adjust to having an entire stepfamily. I’m incredibly fortunate in that I married into a kind, loving family. They have welcomed me and Isabella with open arms. There are times, however, when I can tell that Isabella feels a little out of place.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, we spent a lot of time with Justin’s family. He has five nephews and four nieces, ages infant to nine years old. Most of them were in town this weekend, making for a whole lot of kids in the mix. I thought Isabella would be thrilled to finally have cousins to play with. On my side of the family, she has only one 2-year-old cousin, so she’s used to being bored at family events. And, trust me, she is definitely grateful to have suddenly inherited several new cousins. But what happens sometimes when they all get together, is she becomes self-conscious about the fact that all of these cousins have known each other since birth and she hasn’t. It’s almost like she understands the concept of blood relation and becomes very aware that this is not a blood connection.
This is something that newly married people everywhere experience—the sometimes awkward transition into their in-law family. And I knew I would be going through it myself. I guess I never really thought about how it would affect Isabella. Justin’s family has been so wonderful, I didn’t think it’d be a problem for her. But her discomfort has nothing to do with their behavior; it’s just her awareness of the situation that makes her feel like she sometimes sticks out like a sore thumb.
But, before I panic about it, I have to step back and recognize that I’ve only been married for three months. These kinds of transitions take time. All I can do is build up Isabella’s confidence in every way that I can, and thank God that I married into a family who loves her, blood relation or not.