Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We're all weird.

I've never believed that a family had to be a husband, wife, a son, a daughter and a dog. Okay, maybe I believed it when I was a little girl and had elaborate dreams about being a stay-at-home mom and wearing blue pants suits with really wide collars and making Toll-house cookies with my children (who were always very blonde and very perfect, by the way). It was the 1970's. What did I know?

Since I've been an adult, I should say, I never believed that a family HAS to be what you see on television or read about in books. I, in fact, never really felt that was the perfect way to do things, mostly because for the first five years I had the Boy and the Girl it wasn't that way for us. And it was pretty darn amazing.

When I wrote this post it was from genuine curiosity, but also because of what someone said to me, recently, about my husband, and my complete inability to respond appropriately.

It would be easy to walk away from him since you don't have any children together.

I questioned this logic and they shrugged and told me they would have left their husband years ago, if not for the children. So maybe that was coloring their feelings on that particular subject. I'm not sure.

I think there are a lot of different kinds of families. I happen to be in a step-family situation and I don't think it's weird. I think a lot of people, for some reason, keep trying to convince me how weird it is, but really? I'm pretty sure about 50% of the kids in America don't live with both their biological parents so I'm thinking the people who are trying to convince me of the weirdness are the ones who have the issue. Not me. Not us.

I also think it would be really, really weird to still be married to the Boy and the Girl's biological father. I think it would soul-crushing and painful and horrible and my life would not be anywhere close to what it is right now. Which is also very conflicting because wasn't he supposed to be part of my family when I married him? I mean, true, I had no idea what a Douche Lord he would turn out to be, how horrible and miserable he was. How, when I was pregnant with his children and passed out on the floor I would awake with him kicking me and when I said to him, "Why are you kicking me" he would say, "I thought you were dead and I didn't want to touch the body". But still. I would have stayed married to him because that's what I was supposed to do. Because he was supposed to be part of my family. He did me the biggest favor of my life by walking out on me while I was pregnant and breaking my heart into a billion pieces. Honestly.

It occurred to me over the past few days that I've created my own family around me and it expands far beyond the people I gave birth to and the dog I didn't think I even wanted from the animal shelter that somehow became my third child. Some of them are actually related to me but most of them are people I've chosen to have as part of my life. My children will grow up (oh God) and someday leave home (oh GOD) and eventually have families of their own. I have to have other people in my tribe.

I don't think I'm weird.

Okay, I'm weird. But not like that.


Angie said...

You're not weird at all. . .you are WONDERFUL! Great post, as always.

Sharon said...

That was a pretty insensitive comment your friend made. Jason has been a Dad to your kids for many years, and I'm sure he would be devastated if you "walked away" with Girl and Boy Child.

Maybe I'm biased because I'm a stepmother. Maybe I can relate to Jason because I don't have biological children either. But I love my life with these stepkids and I wouldn't want trade it for any other life. Thank God for people like you and my husband who want other people in their tribes.

Kathy said...

I don't think you are weird at all - it is important to make a "family" of your own. I never lived with my step-mom and I don't think she could walk away. I couldn't walk away from my ex's daughter with his girlfriend. That little girl is a part of my children's lives and therefore part of mine. Besides people you are related to, family is who you chose.

People who stay together for the children are weird. If my parents had stayed together for us - we all would have been miserable and that is no kind of life.

kristina said...

Don't understand the definition of weird, maybe i'm weird, but i believe we choose family, we choose to love. You are lovely(not that you need me to say that, but you are)Oh and on the kids having fams of their own...they will bring you more peeps to your tribe! Grandbabies...one day(we will breathe and let our kids take their time on this, but one day)Life and Love is what you make of it, God is Love, i believe He gives us the choice to use it and who to use it on...keep lovin your family no matter what it looks like, it is the same in His eyes, He loves each one of us right where we are...thankfully i/we don't have to change and look a certain way or have a certain family make-up for Him to love!

Elizabeth said...

That person's comment just said a lot about her, and nothing about you.

You are just freaking awesome.

Ms. Maggie said...

Great thoughts, and I totally agree. Words cannot express, however, I completely disagree with the comment about having kids keeping a couple together. My god. There is a difference between the commitment of marriage between two people and the commitment of parenthood. The two are separate and can exist with or without the other. I feel that is just using the kids as an excuse and that is kind of heinous when you think of it.

Christina Berry said...

We've really gotten away from the "traditional" family of a dad, a mom, 2 and a half kids, and a dog. I think FAMILY is any group of people who live together and love each other, regardless of the individuals that comprise it.

And what idiot would say that walking away from your spouse would be EASY simply because you don't have children? Walking away from a relationship is never EASY, regardless of kids. And anyway, though you and Jason might not have a biological child together, I know he considers the twins his own children, and that changes the game. That's what makes you a family.

diane rene said...

I think Elizabeth hit the nail on the head with her comment.

I saw your post yesterday and I wanted to respond, but I didn't because I realized that I honestly have no experience in the matter. I had a child before I had a husband, and I never once considered the sperm donor a part of my family. I had no issues walking away from HIM because he didn't deserve US.

Being the mom of a blended family, I cannot even see how someone would have the nerve to say something like that woman said to you. So by her thinking, should I be able to walk away from my adopted daughter because she is not my blood? that is absurd!!

my family is well-blended (my own little name for it). it's a his-hers-ours-and a cherry on top deal. we each had one coming into the marriage, we have one together, and we adopted our youngest. when you look past the physical differences in our children and into the relationship that they all have with us and with each other, you cannot tell which children belong to what parent and who is related by blood or by name.

THAT is my family ♥

Allie said...

From someone who's parents "stayed together for the kids" I can say that it actually does a lot more damage than you would think. It took me a really long time and a lot of work (sometimes with a therapist) to realize my idea of marriage, which was all I knew from my parents, was not healthy.
You guys are a family, a family is what you make it, it had nothing to do with blood.

Sami Wilson said...

Family to me is whoever lives in your heart. I guess a helpful question to ask is "Who do I allow to take up residence in my heart?" I have a traditional family, but I come from a blended family. Those I am a campus minister to are very much family to me. Even when they break my heart. I think the boundaries are permeable.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

But Jason is their dad. Just because he didn't contribute genetic material to their biological makeup doesn't mean he's not their father and it certainly doesn't make him any less of a husband.

That person? Who said that? Douche-nozzle.

Love you, hon.

Mrs Catch said...

Having someplace to go is home. Having someone to love is family. Having both is a blessing

I love this saying. It puts life into perspective for me and all the shit that some people get into about the rights and wrongs of families just fades away. It's your life. Live it how you feel you should. (Only just make sure you keep writing these wonderful posts for me to read).

Anonymous said...

OMG, I can't believe someone actually had the balls to say that to you!!!!

Actually, I can't believe someone could actually THINK it at all.

Some people are really just idiots.