My mother and father divorced after 15 years of marriage when I was 6. They met in Thailand early in his ARMY career, fell in love and he brought her back to his small Texas hometown in the United States.
She spoke no English. They had my older brother shortly after arriving and had me six years later. Six years after that, they divorced and my brother and I chose to live with our father.
Shortly after that, my father’s new girlfriend-turned-wife and her daughter from a prior relationship moved in with us. My brother and I gained a new mother and a sister at the same time.
When that marriage eventually sizzled, my father tried the single father life for a few years before he eventually married his third and current wife, giving us another layer of motherly love and a new teenage brother at the same time.
I admit our Thanksgivings and Christmases can get interesting. Every year seems to work itself out with the majority of us getting together over the holidays. I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow richer in love and new memories to take into the upcoming year.
Through my nuclear, extended, step and in-law family tree, I’ve learned family isn’t simply a label you’re born with, but it’s a label that can be earned.
It’s earned through shared experiences and sacrifices, earned through trust (or the breaking of it) and the amends a person puts themselves through to earn it back. No one hurts us like family, but no one lifts us like family either.
My son now enjoys love from all his grandmaternal figures—his Grandmother, Mama Goya, Grandma and Grammy. Our blended family is one of love and support—a family I’m deeply grateful for now as 30-something adult and father in my own right.
In my teens, it was another story. I made the dutiful naive vow to not break apart my family the way parents did, but I was always aware enough to know that people had their legitimate reasons for splitting their lives from loved ones.
My blended family today, like most of the relationships in my life, are family by choice. Because we still choose to check up one one another like a family should.
Your family should be meaningful with their love. In today’s Snapchat generation, some families members are lucky to even get a Facebook mention from one another.
But in my blended family, our text game needs no newsfeed. We stay in each other’s inbox. I’m grateful I’m still married to my first and only. I’m even more grateful for the fabric of love, communication and time our blended family continues to weave together. The peaks are awesome after the valleys.
BMWK, did you grow up in a blended family and/or are a part of one now? If so, how do you keep your family bond?
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