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As of today, it's half her life!

Today is my bonus daughter's 20th birthday. She's no longer a teenager and is flourishing in school and life at the University of Arkansas. I've known her for half of her life, and it's been a privilege to watch her grow into an intelligent, beautiful young woman who knows how to take a bite out of life.

Today, I am reflecting on how unbelievably fortunate I am that my family is in such a good place. It's not easy to combine families, which is what my husband and I officially did in 2016 when we got married. Together since 2013, our road to creating this family was free from the horror stories I've heard from other couples who are in their second marriage. That, in and of itself is something to be grateful for, but how our kids embraced our new family was really something incredible. We do not refer to each other as "step" anything. We're a BONUS family. The word "step" has so many negative connotations and I did not want the (wicked) step-mother moniker hanging over my head. Also, it wasn't a reflection of how we felt about each other. We all truly feel that it's a BONUS to have each other in our lives. There's more love and more friendship among the four kids because of that and I never feel the need to explain my family's situation. When people ask me how many kids I have, my answer is always four because I love my bonus children as my own, and they know that.

I am so privileged to be the bonus mom to my now 20-year-old bonus daughter! She's taught me so much, including how to be a better parent. As she was growing up, I could be her friend because she already had a mom and a dad, and it wasn't my place to play that role for her since both of her parents are incredible at parenting. What she needed was someone she could talk to without fear of judgement or punishment. It taught me a lot about being a better confidant to all my kids and how to lead with patience and kindness. I'm far from the perfect mom, but I am better because my of my bonus daughter.

I hope your day is amazing, kid! Today and every day, I am beyond grateful for having you in my life. I love you!







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Tracy Stahl-Phoenix,AZ
Tracy Stahl-Phoenix,AZ
24 de out. de 2022

Thank you for sharing this Jenn! When I got together with my now EX we both had 2 little girls ages 12 and 13 months - so it was like raising twins! I feel closer to my bonus daughter in many different ways than I do with my birth daughter. It's all about a relationship with each person right...?!

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Jennifer Neitzel (Dallas, TX)
Jennifer Neitzel (Dallas, TX)
24 de out. de 2022
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It really is! I'm glad the story resonated with you.

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