Being a part of a blended family is an experience Nancy Vasquez of Spring Hill, Fla., knows too well. At the age of twenty-three, Mrs. Vasquez lived in Manhattan, N.Y. Her friends invited her to a celebration, which is where she met Steve Vasquez. After several dates Mrs. Vasquez discovered he had three children from his previous marriage. At the time, Mr. Vasquez had a 3-year-old son, a 13-year-old daughter, and a 16-year-old son. From that moment, Mrs. Vasquez realized her life would become complicated and drastically change.
One of the main reasons Mrs. Vasquez is a trustworthy subject matter expert is because she knows first hand the stress stepmothers have endured while raising stepchildren. For many years, she experienced fear, anxiety, and rejection because his ex-wife’s family did not accept her. Even though Mr. and Mrs. Vasquez were married, it was difficult for Mrs. Vasquez to take part in celebrations, milestones, and holidays. Mr. Vasquez family was very close to his ex-wife; therefore, Mrs. Vasquez was not their favorite person. They all felt if Mrs. Vasquez had not come into his life, his ex-wife might have had a chance to save their marriage.
In addition, “from the moment I met the stepchildren it was made clear that I was not their mother and they saw me as just ‘Nancy’,” stated Mrs. Vasquez. The relationship between the stepchildren and Mrs. Vasquez was often times difficult and unlike other stepmothers, she had no input in the children’s lives. Mrs. Vasquez stated, “the children would come over every weekend and their biological mother would send them in their worst attire. “If we wanted to take them somewhere, we would have to go shopping to make them presentable. We would never see those clothes again,” Mrs. Vasquez said. Her stepchildren were picked up on Friday by 6:00 p.m. and brought back home by Sunday no later than 9:00 p.m. Even when Mr. Vasquez worked different shifts, it was still Mrs. Vasquez responsibility to pick up her stepchildren and care for them.
After a couple of years, the eldest son did not come over as often and then the daughter gradually started to also drift away. They were left with the youngest and Mrs. Vasquez was very attached to him. Unfortunately for Mrs. Vasquez, that close relationship lasted until he was about 14-years-old. He then started only coming every other weekend and eventually did not want to come over at all.
Furthermore, since Mr. Vasquez’ children were not spending time with them, he decided in 1988 to move Mrs. Vasquez and their two children to Florida to begin a new life.
As the years passed, Mr. Vasquez would go to New York to visit and spend time with his children. Unfortunately, at the age of 29, Mrs. Vasquez husband’s first born committed suicide. Mrs. Vasquez still remembers when she arrived to New York for the wake; Mr. Vasquez older sister asked her, “What are you doing here? You are not his mother!” From that moment on their lives were never the same.
As the stepchildren got older and had children, they would go to Florida to visit their father and Nancy. Once the grandchildren got older, they would also go to Florida during the summer and stay several weeks. Their grandfather and Nancy always made it a point to take them to different places and spend quality time.
Now that her stepchildren are older, every once in a while they will tell her they love her and they are grateful for all she did and currently continues to do.