This past Christmas was spent with my soon to be in-laws. It was the first time I celebrated a major holiday without my family, and it was bittersweet. Don’t get it twisted, I LOVE my future in-laws. The way they’ve accepted me and love me, is nothing but a blessing from above. However, I couldn’t ignore the feeling I felt deep in the pit of my stomach or the tears that I successfully fought back a good three or four times. Why couldn’t this be MY family?
My parents got a divorce when I was 7 years old. They both remarried. Grandparents? Well, I only have grandmothers. One of my grandfather’s died when I was 12 years old. The other one is non-existent. I often refer to myself as the poster child for blended families. After my parent’s remarried and had more children it was a blast trying to explain to folks why there were so many different last names in my immediate family (sense the sarcasm?). Needless to say, there was drama stirring up at any given moment, causing me to vow to myself that my children will never grow up in a broken home and will never experience having “half siblings”. Being with my fiancé’s family on Christmas Day was a loud reminder of all the things I missed out on, and a realization of how the brokenness of my family cut me deeper than I knew.
It was a beautiful thing to witness his Grandpa and Grandma among their children, grandchildren, and future great grandchild (one of the grand babies was expecting). There were lots of laughs, kisses, and enough love to spread around the globe and back. All of this goodness was happening, simply because two people made a decision. My fiancé’s grandparents fell in love, got married, and have made the decision to honor their commitment to each other for 60 years now.
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, because all of their married children have made the same commitment to their spouses and continue to honor their vows to this day. This scared the crap out of me. I didn’t come from this type of goodness. Divorce, brokenness, and just “making it work” was my example. What if I couldn’t live up to the forever part that’s required in marriage?
After having a mini breakdown in my bathroom later on that evening, I had an epiphany. In the words of my fellow Chicagoan Kanye West: “everything I’m not, made me everything I am”. Yeah my family was a mess, but after years of being intentional about loving one another, it evolved into a beautiful mess. I’ll never forget the Thanksgiving my biological dad came to my mom’s house and celebrated with my stepdad and us. I joked with my mom saying “Girl you got BOTH of your baby daddies in here!”. It’s a beautiful thing that we can laugh at our situation now. Yep, my broken, blended, half but whole family is making it work. It took awhile, but I can finally see the beauty in this.
I can’t change what I come from, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to. However, I can learn from it. So my parents’ marriage didn’t last. Mine’s will. I don’t come from a legacy of grandparents with fruitful marriages. If it’s the Lord’s will one day my fiancé and I will be those grandparents sitting in a room surrounded by our children and grandchildren who have followed our footsteps. I can only aspire to be better. I WILL be better. Pray for me y’all 🙂