This is a step I have taken only once before. Circumstances were much different, and the two situations are really not comparable. The first time - I was married for five months before we ever shared a roof. This time, we've been dating not even a year. I had no responsibilities the first time around, no kids or even pets to speak of, no financial cares in the world. This time, I bring with me two children, two jobs, and a laundry list of financial responsibilities. He brings one child himself, and together, we make five.
It is chaos, no doubt. Our home houses a dad and a mom, though with no shared children between, alongside a 4-year-old girl, and two 2-year-old boys. There is arguing and toy stealing, door slamming, sleepy whines, and jealousy. But there are also little hugs and kisses, snuggles, games of hide-and-seek, shared bubble baths, and "I love you"s.
It is unconventional, and at times, it is terrifying and overwhelming. We have opened not only our hearts as the adults to something that is bigger than us both, but now our childrens' hearts too. I can imagine it is just as scary for my boyfriend, this man who loves my children, as it is for me. He tucks them in at night, and lets them bounce and jump on him way past the point when I, as their mother, would have grown tired of the game. He picks his cereal to match my daughter's when she asks, and he laughs when my son calls him the "fluffy daddy" or sometimes just "Fluffy", a nickname they coined for him due to his fluffy beard tickling their little lips when they kiss him on the cheek.
It makes my heart swell with hope and happy feelings that, despite how scary it is, or what a leap of faith it has required, it is a leap we have chosen to leap together. Here's to the little moments that we, as five, will make together.