11/26/2013 12:13 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2014

An Open Letter to My Step Kids for Thanksgiving

Well kids, after six years, this will be the first Thanksgiving we've celebrated together as a family! I'm looking forward to creating our own memories and traditions, and going around the dinner table sharing with each other all of the things we're grateful for this year. [Don't worry... your dad is doing all of the cooking!] Anyway, I'd like to take this opportunity to start by telling each of you what I'm grateful for as your stepmom, and what it means to me to be having Thanksgiving with you this year.

To our oldest: I am grateful that you jumped out of closets just to hear me scream. I am grateful for the mini Twix bars you left on my bathroom sink and under my pillow just to torment me. I am grateful that you chose me to wake at 2:30 a.m. just to share an epiphany you had about a new app you were writing. I'm grateful that you and I share a passion for health and fitness, though you surpassed me long ago with your six-pack and I'm still working on my two-pack. I'm grateful that we can annoy each other, and laugh about it. But most of all, I'm grateful that I have the privilege to watch as you mature from an adorable, lovable, little boy into a responsible, handsome, young man, who is just like his dad.

To our middle child: I am grateful for so many things that are unique to you and you alone. I am grateful for your artistic nature, and your ability to see things in the world that I don't see. I am grateful for your spirit and sense of adventure, because I can live vicariously through you. I am grateful that you challenge me, not only as a parent, but also as a human being. You keep me true to myself and make me want to be a better person. I am grateful that you are the only child, who hasn't farted, sneezed or vomited on me. I am grateful that your hobbies include sewing, jewelry-making, and baking, because I love those things, too. I am grateful for your courage to be who you are, because I know that it's really not so easy to be a teenager these days. But most of all, I'm grateful that you welcomed me into the family with sincerity and an open heart.

To our youngest child: Where do I begin with you? I am grateful, first and foremost, that you were born. Because without you, there would have been no Girl Scout Troop to lead, no opportunities to be classroom mom, and no sparkles on my hair, jewelry and clothes! I am grateful for your sweet, sunny disposition, and that you are the only early-riser in our house full of sleepyheads! I am grateful for your warmth and caring, and how you know just how to comfort me when I've had a bad day. I am grateful to have someone who understands why it's impossible to leave ½ a donut on the plate or why eating popcorn in the dark is the main reason why I even go to the movies. Most of all, I'm grateful for your acceptance of me as your "extra" mom.

To all three of you: Looking back over the years, I am grateful for so many things, from packing school lunches to learning how to drive. And even with the trials and tribulations attendant with so many blended families, I am so very thankful for this weird, dysfunctionally functional, blended family of ours. Because for the last six years, whether you've hated me or loved me, you've always made me feel like a real mom. And for that alone, I am eternally grateful. I love you with all my heart. Happy Thanksgiving.

Step parents play an important role in the family dynamic. How you choose to define your role significantly impacts your children. Focus on this holiday season as an opportunity to create and share memories unique to your new family. As you progress on this journey, think about:

(1) how my words and actions will be perceived by our children;
(2) whether my words and actions are in the best interests of our children; and
(3) whether my words and actions are designed to foster unity and cohesiveness in the family.

We all have so much for which we should be thankful. Take the time to let your family know how you feel.

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