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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