Last week we talked about blending a family with step-children and step-parents. Yes, I'm still amazed every day about how wonderful my kids are and how blessed I am to have this family.
It could've stopped there. But it didn't. As you recall, I am wife #2, after my husband's first wife passed away. I became an instant parent to two great kids, who made the choice to accept me into their lives. But the addition of me in their lives certainly didn't negate their Mom's family. Her parents lived the closest, and my kids saw them frequently, along with their aunt, uncle and cousins.
Family is a big deal to me and of course the kids needed some sense of normalcy in their world after losing their mother and gaining a step-mother pretty quickly. So these visits to their grandparents and family became even more important. But something else happened along the way.
My husband's first wife's family took the time to get to know me. If there were big family events that the kids went to, they invited my husband and me. I can understand them wanting their grandkids around, and even my husband, who was their son-in-law, but they could've kept me at arm's length. They only needed to be secure in the knowledge that their grandchildren were okay.
But as the kids grew and birthdays and graduations came and went, we continued to be thrown together. More often than not, at their invitation. Her family amazed me time after time with their warmth and openness. Our daughter got married a few years ago, and our son married last year. Both times,there was such a spirit of celebration and joy, and true togetherness...as a family.
My husband and I have been married 11 years. And in that time, we've seen both kids graduate high school, college and get married to wonderful people. This was done in 10 years... talk about fast-tracking through parenthood! And in that 10 years, I've come to treat my husband's first wife's family as my own... as they did a great job of sucking me in!
Was this easy? No, there were tough days.
I know I had difficult times, and I can only imagine their grief. Sometimes it was uncomfortable for me to sit in their home, in the place where their daughter should have been.
They NEVER made me feel that way or feel unwelcome. I think at times it was just my own insecurities. They've been warm and wonderful. We've created our own relationship together, out of mutual love for the kids. I look at fractured families at times and wonder what choices they may be making. In this incredible family I've married into and become a part of, we've made the choice to care, respect and love each other.
There's no way we could've come this far without making the purposeful decision to be a part of each other's lives. We've truly been able to celebrate the milestones in the lives of our kids (their grandkids) as a family. So, today, I pay tribute to the parents, sister, brother and nephews of my husband's first wife. I thank them for their open hearts, for their willingness to accept me into the lives of their son-in-law and children. I thank them for trusting me to love those children with my whole heart.
I know my daughter has said on more than one occasion how happy she was when the entire family be together. She needs to thank her grandparents for that.
Their example is something I will continue to take to heart in my relations with others.
So, how do you become a family? Blend together, mix well and add a dash of love.
And finally, make the choice to be a family.
Do you know of families who are successfully blending? Please share.
Do you want to write a blog post about your experiences? If so, please contact me at RebeccaVincentWrites at g mail dot com.