Bonding in a Blended Family by Katie Gonzalez

Every household is special and unique in their own way. Many modern families also happen to be blended, mine included. I met my step daughters when they were 3 years old and 2 months old, and I instantly took on a mother figure role for them. Although it doesn’t always happen this way, we bonded very easily. As I fell in love with my husband, I fell in love with his daughters too.

It’s even difficult for me to refer to them as “step daughters”, because to me, they’re just my daughters, blood or not. When my husband and I decided to add on to our family, Hailey was 7 and Madison was 4, and we knew we wanted to include them in all of our pregnancy milestones. For starters, we announced our pregnancy on Christmas morning as one of their Christmas presents!

The girls attended doctor appointments with me, held my hand when I’d get blood taken and brought me water and fruit when I was too nauseas to get out of bed. When we found out the gender, we knew we wanted to film them finding out to post for the world. That’s when we found out our sweet Annabel would be the 3rd girl added to the Gonzalez tribe.

Hailey and Madison were beyond excited to have a baby sister, ecstatic to have a bigger family, and so incredibly happy to be apart of the entire process. As my due date was fast approaching, we knew we wanted Hailey and Madison with us during the whole labor and delivery. When I packed my hospital bag, I packed a bag for Hailey and Madison too. We made sure to have their tablets charged at all times and comfy hospital clothes laid out on their dressers for a quick change if needed. I wanted the girls to have a part in every bit of this process, so they each picked out an outfit for Annabel to wear in the hospital and even to this day, when they see pictures of Annabel wearing it, they remember that they picked that one for her. All of our bags were ready and lined the hallway, every time we walked by them, the anticipation and butterflies grew.

The day was here for Annabel’s much awaited arrival. During the entire 38 hours of labor, my husband, my mom, and my two oldest girls were by my side. The girls brought me ice chips when I was thirsty, covered my legs with a blanket when they could feel I was cold, and they were patient for the many hours I grunted and groaned. They sat on the couch that they slept on the previous night while I pushed. I remember looking over at them while I was pushing, their faces were an array of emotions. They were curious, concerned, excited and lets face it, kind of grossed out too. When Annabel cried for the first time I heard them both shriek. They were unsure if hearing her cry was a good thing until they heard the room erupt with joy and happiness.

Once the room cleared of the doctors and nurses, the girls took turns meeting their sister for the first time. Madison made her way over to me and put her hand on my arm and the other on Annabel’s back. She leaned in and kissed her sister’s cheek and whispered “I love you so very much”, then she kissed me. She walked back to the couch extremely giddy and hugged her big sister. It was Hailey’s turn next. Hailey has always been my old soul and she was extremely timid to come over to the hospital bed. She was nervous from the amount of blood she saw and didn’t know what to expect. But when she fully laid her eyes on her smallest sister, an ease came over her entire body and she let out a sigh of relief. She didn’t have to say anything at all, I knew what she was thinking. She was beyond ready to be the biggest sister and Mommy’s little helper.

The girls were exhausted from the delivery so we sent them home for the evening. They couldn’t stand to be away from us so the following morning they were right back at the hospital. We all left the hospital together a few days later.

Our family has only grown even more since this day and not just by another baby, our bonds have also strengthened over the years. We aren’t “steps” or “half’s” in our home, we’re just family. A big, loving, growing family.

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