I met my husband, Kylan, when I was 19. We were married 8 months later just after I had turned 20. Sounds pretty normal for two Mormons going to Brigham Young University, right? What’s not so normal is our background and my husband’s experiences.

When we got married, my husband was 24, divorced, and had a 17-month-old son. It was quite a journey to the altar for us.  My parents liked him from the beginning but were of course very cautious and protective of their only daughter and youngest child. There were many Sunday dinners spend questioning him and he handled it like a champion.

He told me all about his situation the first time we hung out. It truly was a crazy situation. His ex-wife left 9 days after their baby boy was born. It wasn’t spoken about or discussed at all – it was pretty much out of the blue. Until we were married, Kylan had only seen his son once since she left. Now we get to see him about every or every other month and it is a true joy.

My experiences have come fairly early in life – as an 18 and 19-year old I never thought “what would I do if I were dating someone who was divorced and had a kid?” It’s just not something you think about! But somehow I managed to handle it gracefully and understandingly.

Along the way, I have learned some very important lessons through experiences that I believe are tailored specifically for me.

Patience

I have learned patience with Kylan, his ex-wife, and life itself. When Kylan and I met, his divorce had only been finalized for a week. Needless to say, he was not ready to get married again. I wasn’t ready yet either, but once I met him and went on a couple dates, I knew we were going to get married. Because of his experience, it took him a bit longer to realize that same thing. In December I told him that I was ready when he was to get married; we got engaged in March! That may seem like a very short time, but for me, knowing he was “the one,” it seemed like a long time!

Kylan’s ex-wife is difficult to correspond and get along with. It’s been difficult especially because I just don’t understand her and her side of the situation. I am still learning to have patience with her. The good thing about patience is that it can be practiced. I always keep our son in mind – it helps me remember what and who is most important in this all.

I have always been an impatient person, so this has been a powerful lesson for me. It has carried over into other aspects of my life as well. I am learning that life almost never goes as planned, so I must have patience with it. I believe that what ends up actually happening in our lives can be 100 times better than our own plans. If we have patience, we will have our eyes and hearts open to see that.

Motherhood

What is motherhood? Before marrying Kylan and becoming a step-mom I had a narrow view of motherhood. Now that I am a step-mom I understand it so much better.

Motherhood is something that every woman has the potential for. Motherhood is caring for and nurturing others. Even if you can’t have children, you can be a mother. You will find your children. Even if I didn’t have my step-son now, with what I know now about motherhood, I would still consider myself to be a mother. I have the potential inside of me physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be a mother.

Another reason I know this to be true is because I have many mother figures in my life. First of all is my own mother, obviously. However, there are many other women that care for me and have nurtured me. I love these women and all that they do for me.

I believe motherhood is the highest calling a woman can have. There are plenty of other very important things that a woman can do, but motherhood is by far the most important. So whether you have your own children, step-children, or none of your own, you can and will be a mother if that is what you desire.

I’ve never wanted anything more than to be a mother. I have been able to have that sooner than I thought – my step-son is one of the greatest joys in my life. I can’t wait for that joy to multiply when Kylan and I have babies of our own.

Control

The lesson of control is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my experiences with Kylan and his ex-wife. You cannot control anyone except for yourself. People do crazy things sometimes. People do things that you may never understand as long as you live.

As a result, I have learned that a lot of stress and anguish can be saved from letting go control of others. People will ultimately do what they feel is best for themselves – you may not agree with what they do. However, you can control what you do and how you act on your feelings.

Even if we don’t agree with what others do, we can still love them or at least be civil 😉 It takes a lot of time to relinquish the feeling of needing to control others, especially when you think you know best. However, it is 100% worth it.

Let It Go

Kylan’s ex-wife did some things that I do not agree with and made me angry. I’m not a person who gets angry easily, but I would dwell on that anger and frustration a lot. It wasn’t until I decided to let it go that I started to feel better. I am still working on completely moving on, but it has already made my life easier.

Grudges don’t do anything for anyone. I love the idea that holding a grudge is like drinking the poison and expecting it to kill the other person – it only hurts you. If you are holding a grudge against someone, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have to deal with this person whether I’m angry or not?
  • How do I feel when I think about this person and the situation?
  • How do I want to feel?
  • What will help me feel better?

These questions will help you explore your anger and come to terms with whoever is causing you anger and frustration. Like I said, I am still in the process of letting it go, but I am happier just because I decided that I will let it go. It is truly liberating.

Are there lessons here that you have learned or want to learn? What similar experiences have you had? I would love to hear from you. I want to connect and create a community of people – we are never alone!

Written By: Kathryn Vanderpool

She is a 20-year-old daughter, sister, wife, and step-mom. She is working on a bachelor’s degree in Human Development, working full-time, and is new to the blogging scene. She lives in Provo, Utah with her husband and their son lives in California with his mom. She loves figuring out ways to bond with her step-son and sharing those ideas with others. She raises awareness for fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety – all of which she has. Her blog is all about finding joy in trials and wellness of body and mind.

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