Today’s family dynamics are much different from the stereo typical Cleavers, Andersons, or later the Cunninghams. There are still many households out there where mom is the birth mother and dad is the biological dad of all of the children. There certainly is nothing wrong with this. If they are happy and it works for them then that is all that matters.
What works for others may be two moms with one, both, or neither, being the biological parent, or two dads with the same scenario. There are single moms and single dad households, due to either divorce or death. There are moms with kids married or living with dads with kids full-time or part-time. Some go on to have children together and all live happy lives.
Then there is my family.
This is not the first marriage for either my husband or myself. He is husband #2 and the final one I might add, I am wife #3, and probably the last.
We came into this relationship twenty-one years ago with the understanding that I did not want a man around full-time, and he did not want a woman with a ready-made family. I was just coming out of a ten-year marriage that if not for my four children would have been a total mistake. I’m sure he would agree. My husband had already been through two marriages and five children. He was certainly not looking to take on the responsibility of four more.
Somewhere in the first couple of months together we realized something had gone terribly wrong with that understanding and we were a couple. A couple of whats is still up for vote. After everything we had gone through separately, we had managed to find the one other person in life we were supposed to be with. No matter how much we dislike each other sometimes.
Next step was introducing the kids to each other. It would only be his two youngest as his oldest were not in the picture. (I have yet to meet my oldest two step kids and have pretty much given up on that)
I’m sure we were all nervous and the kids were probably a bit scared, but we forged ahead. I had visions of a house full of kids, all getting along, all playing together, one big happy “every other weekend” family. Oh my Lord was I wrong! My girls got territorial about their things, my step daughter got very possessive of her dad, and the boys were ages 9, 5, & 2. Too much of a span as children. It didn’t work and it wasn’t going to work. We had to alternate weekends.
One weekend was my kids and one was his. It sucked but it only lasted until they were teenagers. Then they all turned against us. Right after our wedding, contact with his youngest two pretty much stopped. They wouldn’t come out because there was nothing for them to do, and mine had started moving out one by one. It was the most horrible time in our lives.
It was about that time hubby’s ex #2 and I tried to get his children from marriage #1 out to see him. He was going through a trial treatment for Hepatitis C and we didn’t know if he was going to make it. She knew the kids from when they had been together and she knew the other ex-wife. It never happened and his other two broke contact also. My pipe dream of a big happy family went out the window. Somehow though, he made it through the treatment, his HCV became undetectable, and we managed to stay together.
Many years later, 2005 as a matter of fact, while saying our goodbyes to my father, my husband got the call that he was going to be a grandfather. We weren’t sure what that was going to mean for us. Seven years had passed with little to no contact and now there was a new baby entering into the mix. It was all mute as our lives went on for probably another two years without another word. Then out of the blue contact was made again. A huge airing of hurt feelings, disappointments, and bad blood was exchanged via email. Grandpa was invited to see his grandson for the first time.
We tried after that to get all the kids together. They were adults after all. We, or maybe I was hoping they would have something in common besides us being their parents. Nope. They were polite and civil, but there was no connection there. I threw in the towel once again and accepted the fact that for two people who blend together perfectly our children will always mix like oil and water.
The last time we had five of them together in one place was for my 50th birthday party. It was such a rare occasion that I made them pose for a picture.
Since that picture was taken we have had two more grand-babies, and soon another wedding. Still everything remains his or mine. We go to everything we can, but it is starting to get a bit complicated and we are having to choose between our kids. No matter how much I shake my head I can’t get the oil and water to mix.