Mother’s Day, Father’s Day… these days used to be so simple back when there was a clear definition of who qualified. No holiday is simple in a blended family.
This past Father’s Day my husband and I were both deeply touched when my 13-year-old “original” texted him a picture of a dad fighting a bear that simply read, “Dear Dad, You’re Awesome.” Wow, if you only knew how far we’ve come.
Of all our kids, this one has perhaps struggled the most with the changes his life has undergone. He’s extremely bright and creative and has always asked lots of questions. Even as a small child he’s had an understanding of the way people relate to one another that has far surpassed his years.
His emotions and behaviors often reflected the turmoil that was going on in our household leading up to his father’s & my divorce. Then when his father moved to another city I watched him process many conflicting emotions… over and over as the calls from his dad became less and less frequent.
At the same time I’ve watched him and my husband develop a healthy bond. In the beginning he was suspicious of this man; then he became skeptical; that turned to territorial. He’s fluctuated between trying to scare him away to vying for his attention and acceptance. This Father’s Day text message was an indicator of major progress.
My role has been to allow these two precious men in my life the room to love one another in their own time. As mothers we know our children are lovable and brilliant, and as wives we know that our husbands are supermen. But we can’t force that knowledge on the rest of the blended family. They have to form their own relationships. They have to push and pull and learn and grow. We can only support them and pray that they’ll see the good in one another.
At the same time I know that my husband will never replace the boys’ father. That’s not the point. From my own experiences I know that I can love my step-parents and in-laws more and more every day, but that it never diminishes my love for my own parents. It’s harder sometimes to grasp that with our own children, but the same truth applies.
What I try to do is model these things for all the kids when it comes to all the parents involved:
– FORGIVE shortcomings
– REMEMBER that we all make mistakes
– RESPECT authority
– SPEAK truth in love (don’t hide your feelings, but share them in a loving way)
– GIVE it time
For us moms the important thing is to be THANKFUL for every one step forward and try not to stress over the 2 steps back. Progress is a process!
(archived from June 20, 2013)