It’s 9pm on a Saturday night.
Lights are dim, toys are scattered and a seven-year-old is sound asleep in bed.
I cuddle up to my fiancée in front of the TV as we talk about how well our boy played during today’s soccer match.
I smile because our boy, the one who kissed me goodnight and told me he loves me with a long hug less than an hour ago, is here and I feel our family is complete again.
This is my life. The life of a 25-year-old Extra Mum that I am so damn proud of.
And this is my story.
While most of my friends were looking forward to stress-free uni holidays and planning kick-ass parties for the Christmas break, I was stressing out ahead of what would be one of the biggest moments of my life – meeting my step son.
I had convinced myself I was ready in the weeks leading up to the day we were introduced. My partner and I were the real deal – had been for a while – and I trusted him when he said his son would like me.
“Everyone likes you, why wouldn’t he? And besides, children are the best judge of character,” he said.
Despite being just 20, I also believed him when he told me I was mature enough for it all.
It’s safe to say adulthood smacked me in the face.
There I was, on the morning of, telling myself I actually was NOT ready. Not at all.
What if this incredibly important two-year-old, who I have grown to adore through videos, hates me? That was the question on repeat in my mind.
Pools of sweat filled my palms and my heart was in my throat when I met the boys at a local park. It was going to be a short but (hopefully) sweet meet.
I walked beside Brad as he carried Brody in his arms, who could only speak a few words then, at best.
We went over to the ducks, pulled out a loaf of bread and tried to feed a few.
A clever Brody looked to a white duck in the distance, stretched out his index finger and then tapped me on the shoulder. “Donald…Duck,” he said.
In the next half hour he let me hold him, gave me shy smiles, let Brad take a photo of us and pointed out an inflatable Santa Claus in someone’s front yard.
I thanked him for playing with me and said goodbye.
Off he went in the back seat of Brad’s car and tears rolled down my cheeks. Happy ones. Tears of relief.
No one knows how overwhelming that situation is until they are in it.
The event big enough to change my relationship with Brad for good had been a success.
I already had such a powerful love for Brad but in noticing how he sat back to let Brody and I form a bond my feelings had been cemented.
As I replayed the fresh memory in my mind countless times that night, a strange feeling came over me.
It hit me. When I met Brody, I went from a vulnerable 20-year-old to one wanted to love, protect and nurture that small human for the rest of my life.
Five years on and I’m the same person. Sporting a few wrinkles and with more confidence in myself, I adore my boys, our family and our story.
Until next time,