When we started our Blended Family, the kid's therapist recommended we do a baseline IQ test of our three youngest. The reasoning? Many times over the years she had witnessed teachers and administrators easily label kids if their square peg learning style didn't fit into a school's round whole approach. Little to do with a kids intelligence level, more of a way to make a kid the problem when their teaching style wasn't working.
If ONLY Mom and Dad had stayed married........My life would have been PERFECT! Those words rolled off the lips of my step son Chris with such ease during his five year stay in our home. His parents had divorced when he was six years old and his Mother had firmly planted in his mind that a life of perfection had been snatched from him thanks to the divorce. And you remember who wanted the divorce? Right?
Hers, His and Ours. Perfection - Finding-Beauty-In-The-Cracks-And-Broken-Pieces
It's a fantasy that we all at some point entertain even if we don't say it out loud - wouldn't life be better, easier if the Ex just wasn't around? No more back and forth, constant negotiation, different house rules, splitting life smack dab down the middle...... It's not that we wish for harm to fall upon the Ex - we just wish for simple, easy. But life is never simple or easy - Ex or no Ex in your life.
If we didn't have the complications of a Blended Family to contend with - there inevitably would be something equally as challenging right there to take its place. My friends with families minus the Blended seem to have just as many issues as we do - just different issues - the key word being issues. Every family has issues.
Its been years since I've been to the "What If" scenario. So when the phone rang with news that Greta, Mom to Jax and Little Hart, had suffered a heart attack - I felt guilty for ever having entertained the thought.
I never was a huge fan of Valentines Day before I married Raylan. So it never hurt my feelings with my Hubby's constant threats to boycott the "Hallmark Holiday." Which would probably make you think I tend to shy away from the entire Holiday all together. Nope! As a Blended Family Parent - V DAY is a reminder of why I started this blended family journey in the first place......................
I fell in love with a boy named Raylan!Without him I would have never jumped into the deep end of the pool!
When I became a mother, I planned on being the Cool Mom - you know the MOM my kids told me everything! They of course don't find me very cool, let alone share everything! So I've settled on trying to create an atmosphere where they can share anything even though it isn't everything.
JUST SAYING NO when it doesn't work for your schedule or your emotional health is absolutley neccesary when you're a Mom and/or a Step Mom in a blended family. If you're anything like me - you may be saying YES when inside you're screaming not only NO, BUT HELL NO!
It's a common habit for StepMom's of a blended family to do especially when you're the newbie on the block! You want to be liked, maybe even loved and you mistakenly think saying YES - being everyone's Go To Gal will you get you there, but it rarely does.
I've been in a blended family for 13 years now and I am continually amazed at the judgement from some Bio Parents, a vocal minority(I'm hoping), expressing judgement over LOVE, specifically in reference to the Mom/child relationship I share with my Step Kids.
The notion that love between a parent and child is somehow wrong, disrespectful and/or disloyal to a Bio Parent if the love exchanged is between a Mom and kid has a Step or Bonus attached to it - drives me mildly insane! Insane because STEP or BONUS doesn't change the feeling of love or its legitamacy between the parent and child.
My three kids - Period!
I could ramble on about my relationship with my Step Kids, specifically my two youngest and all the reasons why sharing the parent/child relationship is a good thing for everyone involved, but I won't! Instead I'll talk about my own daughter who was thrust into a divorce and blended family situation by no choice of her own.
It's Monday morning.......I woke up late - it's FREEZING - drinking a cup of hot black tea. It snowed Saturday - we weren't ready for it as is evident by all of the leaves that have yet to fall.
The snow weighs heavy on the tree branches as they struggle with the season change and I find myself identifying with the trees. I've been experiencing a lot of changes - a child leaving the nest for college - another one soon to follow - Little Hart my 14 year old spending more time in her other household.
For a month now, my Monday mornings have been filled with leisure. I should be excited and thankful from my reprieve from the typical morning activities of making breakfast and driving Little Hart to school thirty minutes away - instead I find myself feeling down. It's probably the entirety of all the changes, but nevertheless I do feel down.
This past weekend our Family of Five decided to meet up in Dallas/Fort Worth for the BYUvs. TCU football game at Cowboy Stadium. Raylan, me, Elle and Little Hart flew in from SLC and Jax flew in from Phoenix. Jax's plane arrived twenty minutes after ours and we met up in the airport. We had not seen him since we dropped him off at school in August. It was very cool and strange all at the same time to be meeting our son in an airport terminal.
The kids immediately fell into their old comfort zone and before we knew it - it was like old times - talking - laughing - teasing!!!! The highlight of our trip was attending the game at Cowboy Stadium......
Hartman Family at Cowboy StadiumCowboy Stadium is an awesome sight to see!
Blaming someone for a wrong isn't a new phenonmen, in fact it's become an accepted part of our culture - thanks in large part to the media. Often one piece of a very complicated puzzle is singled out - one person solely to blame for a particular result. The tape gets replayed over and over again for years to come - Remember "this" person caused "this" to happen. Eventually the mistake overshadows every other decision in their life.
It's easy to see why - it makes a complicated situation easy to understand - it's not hard to get people to rally behind blaming just one person. When we place the blame squarely on someone else's shoulder it explains the unexplainable - the failure - the loss - relieving us of our own culpability. We mistakenly hold on to the belief that if that ONE thing had been different the whole outcome would have been different. It's a fallacy because failure never comes from just one thing.
Last week I was watching the ESPN special "Catching Hell." The host examines some of the most infamous baseball games in our history - a team expected to win a crucial game, but loses it instead. Even though a number of errors were made from various players throughout the game the entire blame for the loss gets attributed to one player only. As I'm watching, three different experiences come together - All three involve Blame and Step Moms.
I didn’t know when I held his hand for the first time, our first kiss, our first I LOVE YOU that 13 years later Raylan and I would be sharing our life together - sharing our amazing family that we created. I have been overcome with emotion as we count down the days to Jax moving into his College dorm. I realize how deeply I love Raylan – love my kids - love our Family of Five.
I remember how I felt with the countdown for the older kids leaving the nest - it couldn't come soon enough for them to be out on their own. For me it was freedom from a life of constant unhappiness. I know how it sounds to an outsider looking in. Couldn't you have tried a little a harder? Given a little more? Loved a little more? All questions I had asked myself a million times. The bottom line - they weren't interested in being apart of the new family we were creating and I was emotionally worn out trying to entice them to want to be.