I got divorced when my son was an infant. In the very beginning, I didn’t hear from my ex’s family. Understandable. Through the creative love of a family member (Read my blog, The Best Book Ever Written), I reconnected with my in-laws and a love affair ensued between them and my son. My son proceeded to visit them every summer and they have traveled to see him every year. He is now 26 years old.
This week, my brother-in-law flew across country to visit with my son and I watched from the sidelines. The bond was so strong and, although, I was not privy to their conversations, I knew that good advice was being given. My son never perceives a divorce as a stoppage of loving relationships. As I watched the two of them talking, I thought about how lucky I was to have another supportive adult in my son’s life. The more, the merrier! I was thinking, “What would I have done if my in-laws had not been there? How would our lives been different?” The answer is that our lives would not have been as rich.
Logic tells me that if my ex-husband’s family is such an asset, then the same probability holds that my spouse’s family and his ex and his/her family could provide the same richness, love and support for my child. Why not? Suppose all of these extended family members were supposed to be in my child’s life? What can they teach him? Wouldn’t they make my child’s life better? Why would I be any less enthusiastic about these extended relationships than those of my ex-husband’s family? They answer is that they have a lot to teach and love to offer, if you are open to see it.
A stepmother’s perspective of our step family relationships is not the same as that of our children. Our brains are full of negative stories planted there by society that tells us that everyone hates us. Our children are not bogged down by such thoughts. They are open and see our broad families as more people to love and enjoy. Extended family members are open to them, as well. There is love there, for the taking.
There is so much love available to the children in our big, blended families. The lesson is to allow all the children to be loved by everybody. One day, you’ll look back and be asking yourself, “What would I have done without them?”