Monday, August 18, 2014

The Tie that Binds: Our (Blended) Family

I read an article recently about step parenting and blended families. The author did not like the term "blended" and said that she chose to think of her family as a "frappuccino" family, because they are meant to be blended and taste great. I love this concept and it has been on my mind ever since. 

Chris and I moved in together in late September of 2012 and got married in July of 2013. Thus, our own "frappuccino" family was formed. It feels like a long time ago now, but I remember those early, awkward, anything but blended days. 

The first time I met Olivia was when our niece was born, at the hospital. We said hello and exchanged pleasantries but I know it was a bit uncomfortable for us both. I knew Chris loved his daughter more than life itself, and our relationship would never work if we couldn't find a way to get along. Rather than forcing a relationship or being over the top, I forced myself to try to take things slowly and let our relationship evolve. After all, this was new to everyone. 

When we got married, rather than lighting a unity candle, we did unity sand. The idea being that even though the colors of sand are individual, once they are poured together you cannot separate one from the other. Just as it would be with our new family. I did this idea because it was different and symbolic, but a little more than a year later, I can say how honestly true it is. 

Our little ray of sunshine, Sabrina, has truly been the tie that has forever bound our "blended" family together. Once I became pregnant, and even more so after she was born, it went from being Olivia and her dad and me to just "us". We all had a common bond now, a daughter and a sister to connect the dots. With Sabrina, our familial relationship became more effortless. We spent more time together, playing with Sabrina, taking walks...  Everything just started to click. 

Being a stepparent can be challenging at times. I've never thought of myself as Olivia's mother. After all, she was already a teenager when we met. I think of myself more as an aunt like figure- still an adult, still with responsibilities, but not the same as a mother. I don't always know exactly how I should handle step parenting situations, and I'm sure I've made my share of mistakes. There is no instruction manual for being a parent, and that definitely includes being a stepparent. 

So our blended family continues to evolve as time goes by. Each day and each new situation presents itself with challenges, which we face together. We have no secret recipe. Most of our discussions are at the dinner table during our nightly sit down dinners.  We don't solve the worlds problems, but we do take the time to talk about things as a family unit. (Sabrina's contribution is usually whining for more snacks and "dada".)  

I can't imagine our "blended" family without Sabrina. She was the puzzle piece that we didn't know was missing. We love to chase her around the room crawling, read books, eat play food, whatever activity she is interested that day. But the key is, we do it together. We make it a point to spend time together, if not everyday then most days. No magic potions, no secrets, just love and commitment to each other and to our blended "frappuccino" family. 

Frappuccino family concept originally from Brittany Wong- 

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