I never expected to be have children. But when I remarried, my husband had 3 adult children (and we now have 3 grandchildren) . One of his children was struggling with both of her parents, in an abusive relationship and had a small child.
Blended families often are not easy. I walked into a family with both battle lines and lines of allegiance already drawn. I had to find a way to be part of this, and I found because I was not initially part of this family, that I had a clearer perspective than those who had been immersed in the family their entire lives. Because of my perspective, I was able to help my husband navigate through some of those challenges.
Later, he and his daughter repaired their relationship, although it hadn’t yet been repaired with her mother. Although I tried to help patch things up between her and her mother, I was unable to do so successfully.
As a team, my husband and I helped her, and her young daughter transition out of a difficult and abusive relationship and into a better life. Because of the issues between her and her mother (my husband’s ex), she relied on me to help her with some of this transition. I found I enjoyed being there for her and helping her to the degree I was able and to the degree she was willing to accept help. It was a bit of a balancing act, because she needed to both lean on someone and she needed to know she could take care of herself.
I learned a lot about supporting my stepdaughter (and granddaughter), but also about letting her do it on her own. I told her I was there for her, but I also let her let me know when she needs help. It is a bit of a balancing act. I found I wanted to rush in and fix things or make her life tidier. But that wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted to take charge of her own life and do it her way, which I respect.
I’m there for her when she needs me. And I keep an eye on things in case she might need some help. I’m part of a bigger family now and have relationships with all of my stepchildren and grandchildren!
And I am there for my husband as a support when he needs to discuss something about his kids and ex-wife.