I remember my first meeting with Lily like it was yesterday (cliche much?!)
We were going for a meal with Chris’s parents. As I didn’t live with Chris at this point, I had brought my clothes with me, a black dress and tights, keeping it casual and not too dressy.
Shaking, I remember putting on the tights and completely ripping one leg – I had no replacements, it was too late to head to a shop, and I am not the most body confident person anyway, so going out with no tights and showing off my pasty legs to Chris’s family sounded like a nightmare.
But I went with it. I had other things on my mind rather than worry about how white my legs were.
I was nervous. Nervous of meeting Lily, getting to know Chris’s parents and of meeting Lily’s mum.
Before meeting Lily, I insisted with Chris that I’d need to meet her mum first – and this turned out to be one of the best things I could have ever done.
I gave her the respect she deserved, and showed her I am no threat to her daughter or their relationship – and I think that is really important for a parent. To know you are not there to replace them, but to be a helping hand if they ever needed it.
In doing so, Lily’s mum was able to understand me as a person, and also help Lily in understanding the change in circumstances – that Daddy had a new girlfriend but that that was okay.
It helped everyone.
I should also note how long we waited until I met Lily. It’s a big question people raise – when is the right time to meet your partner’s child? We officially dated for two months before I met Lily in person. Chris had mentioned me, and told Lily about me briefly in conversation, but we didn’t want to rush anything.
I believe Lily’s mum waited two months before introducing her to her partner also. That mutual agreement helped everyone set boundaries and enabled Lily to ease into each situation – and she was so much happier for it! Nothing was sudden or rushed, and as she was eased into the situation, she understood what was going on, even at 2 1/2 years old.
What did I learn from this experience? The first meeting is probably one of the most important and can set a tone for the rest of your relationship with your step-child’s family.
Whether they are your family or not, they are the child’s – and to respect them and make sure they are happy is to make the child happy, and at the end of the day, that is what matters most.