Hopefully On My Way to Family Acceptance

At one time, I said I never wanted kids.  Actually, it was more than one time, I said it for the majority of my teenage years.  I said it because I was a so annoyed at having much younger step-siblings.  They got all my Dad’s attention, and were the sole focus of my Step-Mom’s life.  We went on family vacations that were little kid friendly, which resulted in me being overly bored.  I got to stay at home and babysit kids, while my parents went out and enjoyed life.

Yes, my bad attitude about the whole situation didn’t help things.  In fact, I’m sure my attitude only made things worse.

But, I am not prepared to apologize for having a bad attitude about my changing family dynamics.  If I’m frank about the life changing events that happened within the span of 2 years, I was just a 14 year old kid who lost her mother and sister in a car accident one day, and nearly lost her dad and brother.  My older brother moved out to go to university a few months later.  My Dad started dating someone almost immediately and I felt like I never saw him and he was no longer the same person I had known my entire life. Then a short time later we moved out of my family home and into my step-mom’s house full of her families memories.  While, with the exception of my bedroom, all of ours were boxed away.  Honestly, I’m not sure many other 14-15 years old’s would have made it through all of this and come out without a drinking problem, drug addiction, running away or even attempting suicide. I was told frequently that I wasn’t trying hard enough or being nice enough or doing well enough with my step-siblings, etc. But honestly, I think I did a pretty good job of adjusting to a new reality.

I continued to achieve straight A’s in school.  I continued to play extracurricular sports.  I continued to hang out with other good kids who generally stayed out of trouble. I managed to keep the public perception up that life was okay.  I was doing okay.  Heck, I was doing remarkably well, and those outside of my house would probably have said that I was handling it perfectly.

Yet, behind closed doors the fighting was frequent.  My Dad and I knew how to have a good battle of the wits.  My step-mom never got involved.

Somehow, we all survived the destruction of our first families and the blending of our now family.

No our family wasn’t perfect. And in fact, it still isn’t perfect.

But at the end of the day, amongst all the years of hurt and pain that still occurs happens, I am thankful for the family I have today.

I admire my parent’s strength to have weathered their individual storms prior to meeting and to have managed blending two families without a road map. I am delighted that my Dad was not destined to spending the rest of their days alone. I’m thrilled that they found each other and they seem to make one and other happy.

I truly love my little step-sister, who of course is no longer a little 3 year old, but is an exceptional young lady who is going to make a difference in the world. I am so excited to be able to watch her life unfold, I have so much hope for her.

My step-brother is struggling a bit more with life then the rest of us, but I do love him and I really do wish him well. I hope he finds a way to living a healthy lifestyle and overcomes the demons that seem to haunt him. He’s a pretty good young man, and I hope he chooses the bright future that could be his.

While my brother and I are not always close, I am thankful for our relationship. While we are not the closest of siblings growing up, I am thankful that he has started to call and started to make a bit more of an effort to be part of my life. I adore his children, and am so thankful to have those two wonderful boys in my life.

As I work to accept my family members for who they are, and not set expectations of who I think they should be, I am starting to actually accept them for who they truly are – the good and the bad. I am trying to accept everyone for who they are, and to leave it at that.  I’m trying not to have expectations.  I am trying to let go of the past and to look to look to the future without expectations.

I know my family members are not perfect, but I am thankful that they are part of my family.

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25 Comments on “Hopefully On My Way to Family Acceptance

  1. It’s not always easy to last past hurts go, but I’m so happy that you’re doing this. In the long run, although it takes work to get the point you’re getting to, it’s so much healthier for you. And that is what matters the most. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have and maybe still wouldn’t handle losing my Mom as well as you did. You had a lot of major changes for anyone to deal with, much less a 14 yr old. You should be very proud of yourself, because I sure am!

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    • You are so right, it’s not always easy to let the past go, but I am trying because you are also right when you say it’s healthier.
      And thank you so much for your kind words. I am beyond touched.

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  2. I think this is a true hallmark of being a mature adult — being able to accept others just as they are. I too come from a blended family. And while my blended family did not come to be because of a tragedy like yours (I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for you — I still can’t read about your experience without tearing up a little), there were still challenges. But there were so many awesome things about it, too.

    Both of my parents were married before they met each other. My mom got pregnant at 16 and married her boyfriend. My dad’s girlfriend got pregnant at 17 and they married as well. They each had two kids. Shockingly, those marriages did not work out. My mom and dad then married each other at 24. At 27, my mom had her tubes tied. At 28 she got pregnant with me. Whoops! My sibs were a lot older than me, which I think was way harder for me than the blended aspect. In many ways I think it’s been really good for me — I grew up not ever once thinking that a family meant one mom and one dad and full blood siblings. My sibling were my siblings, and they also had another parent that was not my mom and dad. In fact, I was a little jealous that they had another parent they could go live with if they wanted. However, I’m sure they must have been insufferably annoyed by me, just as you were annoyed by your younger siblings. Another blended family fun fact: my dad’s first wife introduces me to people as her daughter! So she’s always been a part of my family, too. When my mom died, my dad’s first wife was one of her closest friends. Why am I telling you all of this? Haha, I have no idea. Other than to say that while our situations were different, I know where you’re coming from. And also because you’re my friend and I want to share my story with you. 🙂

    I think growing up with such a fluid notion of what family is, will better prepare me to be an adoptive parent. At least I hope so? I think this is true for you, too. Your experiences with your step family growing up, as hard as they were at times, are going to make you a great adoptive mom! Well, that in addition to your general awesomeness, of course.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing all of so much of yourself with me and for always sharing your love and your support. I love that you are such an amazing friend to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Also, I love learning from you experiences. What struck me when I read this was actually your comment about how hard the blending of our families after tragedy must have been – I always actually figured that was one of the good things about our family – we had no-one else. My mom was dead and my step-siblings father was dead. It meant that no matter what we were together – no-one spent weekends with another parent, no-one got to yell and say they’d just go live with the other parent, etc. We had no other option so we just had to find a way to make it work. I always thought it would be harder to blend a family where all the parents were still involved.

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  3. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: you are a testament to human resiliency, and you AMAZE me. I’m glad you made it through those rough teen years and came out the person you are. Nothing short of incredible.

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  4. Blended families are particularly challenging to navigate, and when it comes to those kinds of relationships I think the best rule of thumb is that we try not to be too hard on ourselves or each other. Everyone is always just trying to figure things out. Like you said, blending families does not come with a road map.

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    • Thanks Anamarie, I think you are right. The trick is to not be too hard on ourselves or others in our blended families. Some days might be better then others, but on the whole we do seem to make it work.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ain’t that the truth. I think you articulated what lots of people feel about their families. There is that horrible moment when you realise your parents are human and fallible. For me it was really difficult to deal with the fact that my dad wasn’t the superman he’d always told me he was. And that my parents’ marriage wasn’t the bed of roses they’d always told us it was. And that my little sibling #2 wasn’t the perfect little sibling I felt entitled to. (I felt entitled to a perfect sibling relationship like it was in books and films and not a self-harming seriously ill nothing-you-can-do-to-help nutcase, as I used to think of #2).

    Thing is… It really is a cliché but I think time heals a shed load. My folks split up. But then they got back together. My dad turned out to be human. But I like having a human dad. (Can you imagine how annoying superman would be as a father? Always flying off to help someone else. My dad’s dedicated to helping me and my siblings, in his own inimitable way.) And weirdly, #2 and I now have a much closer relationship… almost like the films.

    I’m in awe of what you’ve been through and come out of the other side. I’d be a quivering blancmange of anxiety if I were you. Not only are you smart, funny and good at photography but your genuine *goodness* shines off the page. I think it’s awesome that you can get to this place of acceptance. We’re all works in progress.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing. You are so right about the moment that we realize our parents aren’t perfect – in many ways it’s a turning point in life.
      And thank you so much for your kindness and your love. I am so touched by your kind words, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so happy for you that you’ve gotten to this point of acceptance with your family. I really can’t imagine what it was like to go through such a tragic loss and to have your family divided and then blended the way you did. But, I’m glad that things are getting better for you and you are able to mend relationships and strengthen bonds.

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    • Thank you so much. I’m trying to get there, and yet I realize that it’s a work in progress and there will probably be good days and bad days. I jut hope the number of good days outweigh the bad days.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Holy crap. I had no idea this was your story. And you are right, you managed incredibly to get through all that as a teen. It is life altering stuff. Blending is hard on all involved. My family blended when I qas 16 – my mum and 3 kids and her new hubby had 3 that he also had custody off. Suddenly we were a house of 8. One of my steps didn’t handle it at all and went right off the rails. Drug addiction, some light end criminal stuff and a big mental health issue. He is now a 38 yr old man who can’t work and who hasn’t grown up in his head through the life path he chose triggered by his mother’s rejection and a blend that didn’t go well for him. Before all this he used to sing and dance in a local well renowned talent school. It was so sad to see his choices. I hope your step brother turns it around before he goes too far.

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    • A house of eight, I cannot even imagine how busy that must have been!!! It sounds like my step-brother and one of your steps are both struggling with it all, I continue to hope that my brother figures it out (he’s still pretty young in his mid-20s), but I ultimately realize that he has to make the decision to change his life and until then there is nothing we can do to force him.
      Also thank you for sharing. I really appreciate learning from you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I think it takes on going healing to be here. I’m here today but who knows about tomorrow. One day at a time and hopefully in the end we are all moving forward positively. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I needed to read this today. Thank you for reminding me that you have to let things go.

    You’re a very wise person!

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    • Yup, we have to at least try to let things go. It’s not always easy, but we do have to try. And honestly after my evening I need to remember that. Thank you!

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  9. When I saw your title, I thought perhaps you meant that someone had chosen you guys to adopt their baby! But, this is just as good. It’s not always easy to get along with family, especially step-family. We don’t always want them in our lives, and don’t like what they represent to us. (Failure of a marriage or loss of a parent.) Some people never get over that, ever. The fact that you’ve been able to, and actually enjoy your family (for the most part) says a lot about both you and them. ❤

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    • Haha! I imagine if we were matched the post would look a lot different then this!! Heck I might be so overcome with excitement that the entire post might just consist of one work – matched!
      Anyways, thanks for this. I am so touched by your comment about learning to enjoy my family for who they are. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was so beyond excited when I saw it lol…I let myself down! Hopefully that post will be coming some time in the near future though. And you’re welcome 🙂

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  10. So much happened to you when you were so young-you are a walking miracle to be so healthy and have such a positive outlook! It shows true strength of character:) Blended families are tricky, we’re still learning our way. It’s awesome to read this from your grownup perspective, thanks for sharing it!

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  11. Pingback: I Was My Own Worst Enemy | My Perfect Breakdown

  12. “I know my family members are not perfect, but I am thankful that they are part of my family.”

    There is something to be said for accepting people where they are, as they are. It’s not always easy (in truth, I struggle quite a bit with this), but I’m pretty sure it’s better than the alternative.

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