So I read this article this week and it struck a nerve--that for me, is not raw but can become exposed when this topic is raised. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42364656/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/ . My oldest son has a different father that my husband. My middle daughter handles this fact in a curious way...she thinks it is "cool." Yesterday (he is visiting his Daddy this weekend) a neighborhood boy came to ask if he was home and could play...my daughter replied, "No he is with his other Dad. I only have one Dad, but he has two--isn't that cool?" The boy replied a bit sheepishly, "Well I have three." She said, "Wow, I never met anyone who had three."
Their conversation shifted after that, but it reminded me of why I feel so suffocated at times in the suburbs and am moving my family closer to the City. If one in five Americans deal with this situation...then I know I'm living in a cultural lag area (a whirlpool) when I get treated as if I'm a slut/freak because my family is a blended one. Here's the thing...my son's father is the brother of one of my best friends. I've known he and his family for almost fifteen years. After a rocky beginning, we both have worked consistently to become friends again...primarily for my son, but also for ourselves--as we are both peace-seeking individuals who know that things don't always go as planned.
I am proud to say we have all created a loving situation for all the children. No one feels left out or strange--difference is just acknowledged as interesting. It is my hope for other blended families that you focus on making the situation "cool" for your kids and don't play out old hurts in front of the children. Whatever the problem (unless harm was done intentionally to the kids) it can be forgiven and used to strengthen instead of inflame...and even when harm has happened...you always have a choice to forgive. And, it is to your advantage emotionally if you do that work.
Families have been, are and will continue to evolve into different shapes. It is to the advantage of future generations that we embrace all of them--no matter their make-up. Shame simply has no place in the conversation...or at least, it shouldn't. It is simply another way of getting stuck in blame. Your mission--if you choose to take it--is to struggle against the pull and find your way to the water that is moving--release your need to control how it flows and see where it leads you.