Blended families

They — and by “they” I mean the many authors of stepparenting books — say it takes about seven years for a family to truly blend.

They’re right.

Only in recent years have we found our footing, and even now, our steps are sometimes tentative. Blending a family requires balance and boundaries. Those aren’t always easy to figure out.

When I started dating Hubs, the kids were 8 and 9. Soon after we married, they turned 9 and 10.

Then we added Tootie and E-man to the mix. Let’s just weekends at our house were often … lively!

Tonight, my stepdaughter graduates from high school. (Her brother graduated last year.)

I am so proud of Claire. She’s a sweet, down-to-earth girl who has rarely given us a minute of worry. I remember the many weekends, when Hubs and my stepson went hunting, that Claire and I would rent several Olsen twin movies and stay up late watching them. I remember her crawling into her dad’s side of the bed, saying she didn’t want to sleep alone with the boys gone.

When Tootie arrived, Claire toted her around proudly, even the afternoon that her new baby sister erupted into wails just as Claire sat down at the piano for her recital.

She did the same when the E-man was born.

Claire, I know there are times when I royally screwed up in my stepmom role. But you’ve been patient and sweet and the most precious stepdaughter a mom could ask for.

Today, I’d like to share a few of my favorite family photos. And Claire — congratulations. We’re so excited for you!

Love,

Cathy

Tootie and her "Cece" (short for sister)

Christmas 2004

Tootie's favorite game: Airplane

Claire always loved to do Tootie's hair. When, that is, she could catch her!

San Antonio, 2005. Look! It's Tycer. The boy who somehow always managed to dodge the camera!

Remember the Alamo?!

Nothing like a brisk Texas wind. (That's cousin Ceselie in the middle.)

Brothers.

Let's try it this way ...

Big Dam Bridge.

Hubs let me use his camera.

Congratulations, Claire!

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