One of the most challenging things for a blended family is creating a new one from the ashes of the old. At least that’s what all the books I’ve read about blended families would have you believe. I don’t think that the first family has to be dead and buried for the new one to survive. Let me tell you a story.
Last year, I went to a recital for my stepson Conner who plays trumpet. In the row in front of me and behind me was a group of people. By the looks of them you would have assumed they weren’t all together but they were. As I would come to overhear from one of the daughters that sat behind me, there were six adults in attendance. They were all there to cheer on one child. Here is their story. The mom had five children. The first two were with Parent A who was in attendance with his new wife. Parent A was the father of the girl behind me and also the father of the boy playing the drums that they were all there to see. Parent B was the step father to the first two kids and also had another little girl with the mom and was there with his significant other. Parent C is the new husband and together they have two more children, an infant and a toddler. He was there as well to cheer on his stepson. What was great about this family? All the adults sat together, all the new families were there and they all seemed to get along. Parent C and B congratulated Parent A on the son’s job well done. All the Step moms got along and joked around with the Bio mom. It was truly a sight to behold. As I sat there, I thought, wow these people get it. While it probably wasn’t an easy road to get to that point, they got there. It gave me hope.
So why am I telling you the story of a family I saw at a school recital? It’s because they illustrate to me what all blended families should be. I think a lot of people think that because there is a divorce, the family unit is dead. I argue it isn’t. It just becomes part of a larger family. Like those Ven Diagrams you learned about in elementary school. The kids from the first family didn’t die so the family unit is still there with all the kids in the middle. That’s the biggest thing to remember, the kids are in the middle of all this. So if you’re like me and you want your blended family to be like this one, I think the simplest thing to do is look within. Start by extending an olive branch. It can be as simple as an invite to your child’s birthday party. Family trick or treating if you live close to one another is another idea. Thanksgiving is in a few months and that’s an easy invitation. Keep the mood light and remember it’s for the kids, not for you. Then maybe if we’re lucky one day, we’ll all have that big blended family like the Brady Bunch.