What I wish people knew about A Blended Family
blend·ed fam·i·ly - a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships.
There is not love so pure as the one you feel for your own kids. Right. Right? I tend to disagree. Not only because my family is a blended family, but also because I’ve seen many blended families and the love they have. I have a girlfriend who married a very nice guy. Her perfect prince charming. And he has a daughter. I know my girlfriend loves the girl with all her heart. She has become another mom for the sweet little girl. Yes, she has a mom. But an additional one never hurts.
See, I’m a mom. I love my two babies with all my life. And they aren’t babies. My son is 15 and my daughter is 9. They are growing fast. And yet, they are my babies. A few years ago, my ex-husband met this nice lady and soon they started living together. My kids liked her. They liked spending time with her and her son and I was grateful for it.
Of course, I never tried to intervene in how they called her. I’m not into labeling people that way. My daughter came to me one day asking me if his dad’s wife was also a mom for them.
It was a great question at the moment. How was I supposed to answer? Is there a right or wrong answer to this? Will this lady feel bad for whatever my answer was?
But the answer was crystal clear. She was for them what their hearts told them. If they liked her a lot, it was fine with me.
I told my daughter exactly that. “If you love her and you think she’s like another mommy to you, then that’s what she is.”
Why would I tell my kids they cannot love another person in the way they love me? Kids’ love is never-ending and their hearts are so big that the whole universe can fit snugly in there.
I wish people knew that nobody plans to have a blended family. People doesn’t wake up one day and say, “you know what... I’m gonna start a blended family” “Let me search for divorced guys or widowers with kids” “Is there even an app for that? Can you swipe left and right between divorced guys or widowers?" No! It just happens.
Long before it happened to me, my heart felt I was gonna divorce my kids’ dad. I just knew it. For a very early stage of the marriage. I could feel what was coming and it didn't matter all I did, how hard I tried, how much I gave to avoid it, the result was exactly the same. When the unavoidable was there, I asked myself what my life would be. After many times trying to figure it out, I came with a resolution. My plan was simple. Stay alone. Just my kids and I. Together against the world.
For many years I was convinced that the rest of my life would be spent writing, traveling to see my kids when they grew up and hiding from the rest of the world.
I wish people would understand these things happen. Good things. Bad things. And just like that, a little sunshine appears in our life again. And we start laughing again. We didn’t plan for it. We didn’t ask for it. We fought against it. But eventually, something that was building inside turns out to be a feeling, not a resistance as it appeared to be.
That’s the way a blended family starts.
In my personal situation, I knew my little sunshine since I was 14. We had seen each other –a distant friendship- scarcely during those years. We have talked about work and not more than one sentence of another topic, mostly about one of my books. My son- who was at elementary school at that moment- had been constantly bullied for two kids and the school administration had done nothing to stop the abuse. I was distressed and hurting.
One day I went grocery shopping and there he was: my gorgeous demigod! Absorbed in my anger for what was happening to my son, I passed by him without giving much thought. Later, he went to me because he felt I was very down. (I was usually a cordial person, excepting that day.) I told him the bullying situation and he offered to teach my son self-defense (as he’s a martial artist!).
One thing led to another, and soon he met my kids to teach my son some self-defense techniques. Everything felt just right. By then, I was separated and waiting for the divorce.
My friendship with him turned into an intention to see how he conducted around my kids, and how my kids responded to him. I didn’t try to force anything. I sat there with them, observed and listened. I just let them talk. It was a very natural thing.
From that day is been five years this summer! I don’t regret a thing.
A blended family is a wonderful thing. I wish people knew that! If is managed harmoniously between all the parts it can be a great thing for the kids. My kids’ dad has always been welcomed to the kids’ life but also my husband is. He’s another dad for my kids. They love their dad. And they also love their step-dad. Sometimes, they decide to do breakfast for him just because he’s good to them! When nobody was there for my kids, my husband (my boyfriend by that time) stepped up for my kids. Always present at school activities, doctor appointments, boy issues, “the talk”, birthday, sad days, he’s always there.
I wish people knew that a blended family is exactly like the others. Some kids live with just one parent, other kids are raised by their grandparents, some have all their grandparents and parents living together as a big happy family. A blended family is a beautiful family junction where someone has decided to love them all as a part of himself/herself because a very special love and bond is born. The need to protect these kids, this family with all their love. And be a part of it. To be happy with their laughter, because he/her is an essential part of it.
I wish people knew that a blended family is a wonderful thing. I wish people stop judging those who choose to have a blended family. In the future, those people could be your sister, your brother, even yourself.
Enjoy your family, no matter its composition. Do your best for them. Give all the love you have. Make them your priority. Stay present in their lives. Do for your husband or wife what you expect in return. Care for them, share with them. Life is fragile and it can fade away so fast. Don't waste it by spending your time judging how others decide to live. Don't throw yourself into perdition by been the constant judge of other peoples' happiness.
Truth is nobody knows what tomorrow will bring!