In September, I get nostalgic for my first date with DH. In October, I remember the first time I hung out with the kids – at the pumpkin patch. I look at this picture and can instantly recall the feeling of terror and loneliness that I was fighting through because I so wanted to be with the man who was the father of these kids. Bill picked me up at my house, and I climbed into his Camry with 2 tiny 4-year old faces staring back at me. Faces who didn’t want to like me. Remembering the fear and challenge of connecting with the kids has softened over the years. And now there is only love and acceptance…. but that was hard-fought love and acceptance. At 4 (as they have told me when we talked about this), they thought I would be like Cinderella’s step mom – and thus started years of stopping, starting, and getting through. Now I know them – their personalities, their likes, even their own insecurities. I think I am accepted as a parent now, but I wish it could have just happened – that there wouldn’t have been any struggle, just instant family – so that at 4 I could have been their Ginger, not a stranger with threat of making them scrub floors.