Blended Family GrowthAs you may or may not know, I have been part of my blended family for over thirty years.  When my husband and I met, he had a four year old daughter and I had a four year old daughter and a two year old son.

The first five years of our relationship were not easy.  We both felt guilty about the breakup of our first marriages and tried to recreate a little family for the kids.  We went about it all wrong and even though our hearts were in the right place, the kids were not adjusting to their new routine at all.   My husband and I did not marry for four years so we kept two households of our own and shared parenting with our first spouses in their two households.   Our poor kids were always in the car as we were all (the four of us parents) trying to keep their lives filled with shared parental time and some sense of normalcy.  Unfortunately, there was no normalcy about their lives at that time and the four of  us adults were also trying to recover from our own wounds and feelings of despair at the decisions we had made.

We met through a mutual friend and immediately bonded over our shared situations.   We not only found a way to talk over our goals and dreams for our lives but laughed, walked and rode bikes together.  It was nice to be with someone who understood the balance that I was trying to seek.  The fact that my husband and I really liked each other, though, was constantly overshadowed by the details of our lives.  He had moved to a house that was close to his newly built business but it was a two hour drive from his child’s home with her mother.  I had moved in with a relative in a huge home that housed not only myself and my two children but her and her two teenagers. This was chaos for all of us.  My full time job in a law office and his choice to open a restaurant only added to the tension when we were together.  It seemed like no matter what we tried to plan for fun with all of us ended with tears for one of the kids or me.

BUT — I always try to go back and look at the positive things happening in our lives in those early years:

1.  We found each other when we needed it the most;

2.  Our situation allowed us to have weekends alone when the other parent had our kids;

3.  We shared common interests and developed a respect for what each other was trying to accomplish;

4.  We got through the toughest time at the beginning of the relationship — each year forward got a little easier.

After about two months, a routine was starting to develop for us — but we started to feel the desperate need of each child wanting to be alone with their parent.  How could we do this and not hurt anyone’s feelings?  Why did we not just say it loud — “I need to be alone with my child this weekend” –  Why did that thought hurt so deeply? Why did the needs of each child cause insecurity within the two of us?  Why was this so hard?  Why couldn’t we all just become one happy family?

It took years for me to look back and see our past through different eyes.  So many relationships and emotions were forming and not everyone was happy about it.  This series will uncover the beginning of our blended family and chronicle how we have come to love and respect each and every family member.



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