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Challenge: What Makes a Family?

From Two Families to One

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The house is full of kids. From the kitchen I can hear laughter, singing and the basketball rapidly bouncing on the driveway outside. The living room is a wreck. Shoes and blankets and signs all over of lives being lived.

The girls are sitting at the computer, singing to one of their favorite songs, as it plays for the third time in a row. The younger boys are in the kids’ room, playing some kind of game or building yet another fort, probably planning to trap the somewhat reluctant dog inside. My oldest son is outside shooting hoops. He comes in to ask the younger boys to play. They take a few moments to debate whether they will go or not, and then head out to play a game of “two against one”.

I smile, looking out the window and standing next to my boyfriend, as together we prepare a meal for all seven of us. Three of the kids are mine and the other two belong to him. We are not a conventional family. Actually, by society’s standards and some technicalities, we are not even considered one. We are blended but not officially. We are both divorced, but we have not married each other. Yet at least every other weekend we get together with our kids and enjoy all kinds of activities and precious time together.

Of course not all of it is rainbows and unicorns. The kids fight (pretty rarely though), I get frustrated with the mess, the mini-van is like a clown car when we go anywhere and well, it’s expensive to feed five kids! However, for the most part we are not much different from other “traditional” families. We are doing all we can to make the best of what may not be considered the most ideal situation. Even though, it’s ours.

I used to think a family was cut and dry – a mother and father and the kids. In this picturesque family, the Mom and Dad are married and will always be. They are in love and happy and will always be. No one can break any of those bonds.

I do not believe that anymore. In some ways I am incapable of believing it. I have a completely different take after going through a divorce, working through past hurts and coming out on the other side. I realize my mind was not open before, that I was giving “family” some sort of box in which to be contained. However, you cannot contain real love. True, meaningful love is the foundation on which my boyfriend and I have formed this new family unit, which some day we hope to officially create. Who could ask for anything more?

So for now, we reside in this spot. We are all still getting to know each other and learning to be our own type of family. Sometimes we have to explain who is who and what is what, to those who have a puzzled look on their face (the kids’ features are quite different) or know us from “before”. Though most people do not bat an eye and accept us for what we are – a family in the making.


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