Life in a blended family has a number of ups and downs. And I think the thing I have found most surprising is that progress is not always in one direction. In fact, any given day we are likely to take two steps forward and one step back (or very occasionally one step forward and two steps back.)
This past week, I think we took some pretty great steps. Two moments in particular made me smile from ear to ear. Since this was spring break, we took the opportunity to get away for a few days. We went to my husband’s family’s beach house – with his whole extended family! Though it is far more people than my son and I are used to, it is also great to find our way in the big, and I do mean BIG picture. When all of them are there, there are 25 people, 15 of which are under the age of 17. Justin and I have now been with them on multiple occasions. But this time was different. Why was it different you ask? Well, for one Justin referred to the other kids as his cousins. And the other kids, well, they referred to me as Aunt Debbie. See, it may be tough for our kids to make the adjustment to the blended family within the house, but as far as the extended family goes, we are already accepted.
The other big moment was when my son was writing in his journal. I bought him one of those “fill in the blanks” type journals. “What is your favorite color?” “What do you think you’ll be doing 20 years from now?” etc. Midway through the book, he stumbled upon a page that said “Draw your family.” he said, “Oh mom, this is going to be so hard.” My throat tightened for just a moment, but I gathered my wits enough to ask, “What will be hard about it?” Then Justin answered, “They didn’t give me enough space. I have a huge family.” Sure enough, he drew himself, me, his dad, his bonus dad and all five of his bonus siblings. then I noticed one more. I asked, “Who’s this?” “That, oh that’s Tim. My other brother.” Hmm. Well, on the one hand, I am delighted that he has room in his heart and his family for so many. On the other hand, my hands were already full with six kids, adding in this new, imaginary brother may just send me over the edge. I already paused when people asked me how many kids I have “One?” “Six?” Now I am supposed to answer seven? I think I should quit while I am ahead.