ALL RIGHT RESERVED 2019 BY JENNIFER BURKS PHOTOGRAPHY ©

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  • Jennifer Burks

InstaFam

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

I claim these three humans. They make my world go round, bring joy to my heart daily, make me so so proud, work nerves I didn't even know I had, and are also the reason dying my hair is a necessity these days rather than a reason to get pampered.

Never in my life did I imagine being a #guardian a #stepparent AND a #mommy. At the age of 24, Tyrre and I became guardians to his younger brother, Marcus (14). A month or two later, we took on the role of full time parents to DaMarcus (5). At the time, we lived in Chicago #rogerspark. Tyrre had just wrapped up his career playing football in Canada and was in the midst of starting his first company attempt. I was working long hours for Northwestern Health and Fitness in Lake Forest, Illinois as a medical fitness specialist. And then, BOOM! #Instafamily. A twenty four year old, living in Chicago, trying to make ends meet, raising a #teenager who had just tragically lost his second parent, dealing with all the "fun" drama that comes with that - lawyers, family, emotions, and puberty, figuring out how to get a five year old to and from school, have dinner ready for a family of FOUR, make sure they showered and cleaned up....because..boys, did their homework, felt loved and cared for, and still manage to shower myself so I could get up at 4:30am the next morning to start all over again. Ever look back on times in your life and think, "How in HELL did I survive?" HA! My 20's were much of that. I like to now refer to it is a "beautiful mess." In the moment, it was just survival. It was living in an apartment filled with boys of all walks of life, trying to hold it together to be their rock. It was hard. It was definitely emotional. It was exhausting. There are things I would have done differently, but it was worth every tear, every smart mouth comment, every disagreement and it was truly the beginning of a journey that I wouldn't have chose myself, but am so glad it's the path I was led down. Without these boys of mine, I wouldn't have been able to be the mom I am today when this little ladybug made her entrance into our family, four years after our #instafam began. Miss Brooklyn Jean Burks.


When I found out I was pregnant, I convinced myself I was having a boy to avoid the disappointment of not having girl. I desperately wanted someone to share a house already full of boys with. I remember showing up to our 20 week ultra sound ready to hear the words, "Congratulations, you're having a boy!" - God knew what he was doing. - Though a clear image never presented itself, the ultrasound technologists exact words were, "Well, if I was a betting man, I'd say you're having a girl." Day...week...WORLD MADE!


This picture perfectly sums up my life. Brooklyn, the attention stealer. DaMarcus most likely being annoyed by her, the same way Marcus was toward him when he was little, and Marcus, a.k.a. Uncle Trey, laughing at it all because it's all too familiar and he's now off living his life at the University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Throughout my blog posts, I'll go more in detail on what it entails to be a #guardian #stepmom and #mom. - the good, the bad, the challenges, and the rewards. If you have questions or there is any specific topics you'd like me to address, add it to the comments or shoot me an e-mail!


Until next week!

Jen

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