Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blending

My family is a blended one; my wife and I each brought a child with us when we joined together in marriage. In the beginning we had our share of concerns about combining our families; after all, each child had lived all their lives as an only child.

My wife and I braced ourselves on the day we all moved into the new house together. We hoped for the best and prayed we had not just boarded a train destined to run off the tracks and into a dark, murky swamp.

To no one’s surprise both girls had their own expectations, which they expressed without reservation, about how this new family would operate. We worked through debates about which parent-child traditions would remain in effect or be replaced, who would get the larger bedroom and which extended family events we would attend during the holidays.

Sure, we went through an adjustment period, when at one time or another each daughter cried tears of frustration about something the other had done or said. But my wife and I stood firm, united and expecting our children to embrace our newly blended family. We were determined not to be two families under one roof.

A pivotal step we took toward successfully blending our family was to establish new traditions that were ours collectively rather than a hodge-podge of “mine” and “yours.”

Today we have a variety of traditions that help define our family. Whether it is beginning each road trip with a stop at the same fast-food joint, singing our family song when we’re having fun or grabbing a latté on the way to church, we do things that all of us look forward to, things we each equally enjoy.

Friends often remark about how well we have blended and established our new family. This is complimentary, but also worrisome. With the prevalence of divorce today, I’m sure we are not the only blended family our friends have ever met. Are all the others not doing so well? I cannot believe that is the case. If you are a successfully blended family, please share your story; tell me how you did it. Others in your shoes of yesterday will thank you tomorrow.

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