The blended and extended family seems to be the norm today. When I grew up, it was something people barely spoke about. For me, this was all I knew. I even remember feeling the tiniest bit lucky to have more than one dad. How many pre-school kids were seasoned travelers and honorary flight attendants? My parents divorced when I was just shy of two years old. My mom and dad both remarried and had other children, creating for me vast family relationships.
As a child of a blended family, I had no idea what my parents were going through. I had no way of comprehending the situation at the time. Only as I became an adult was I able to appreciate everything on an emotional level. I have to give my parents an immense amount of credit for being civil and willing to be around each other. It is not easy to let go of the past, move on and be happy for the person you once loved and had a life with. When parents choose to bring a child or children into a new relationship, there will be issues to deal with such as how they will be treated. How your children will behave toward the stepparent or with the half or step-siblings. There should be considerable thought about when you might join the families, where they will live and how things will be decided along the way like rooms shared, chores, meals prepped, school, holidays, vacations, respect, discipline and the list goes on.
Since I grew up in a blended household with an extensive extended family, I always felt sure if I were in the same situation I would be able to handle it in the same elegant way my parents did. I would freely accept the new girlfriend, wife or any other scenario that created a blended or extended family. I know how important it is to have family around and have everyone get along. So, when the inevitable happened after my 30 plus years with my husband and I was faced with the reality of letting someone else share in my family traditions, my daughter’s lives, and holidays, my feelings changed.
My now adult children were as they should be wanting to have their entire family gathered at the fast approaching holidays and yet I was not feeling it. I questioned if I had the maturity, and energy to deal with all the emotions that were sure to arise. I decided to speak to my ex-husband and see what his opinion was on the situation. After a lengthy conversation, we agreed that merging and blending our family at this point was not something that would be in the best interest of the family.
I’m sure in the future I will be happy to re-join the blended family environment that I grew up in and knew so well. For now, things are still at a place that is hard to make fit into a perfect box, and until you are in that situation, it’s hard to know how you will react or respond. I hope someday soon I will be as mature as my mom and dad were all those years ago. I want to set an example for my girls letting them know that life and relationships can be healthy and functional even after a divorce or breakup. It just takes some time, understanding and maturity.