Once upon a time, you meet this amazing, perfect puzzle piece to your puzzle. He gets you. He fits. He's funny and charming and handsome. You have never been more loved, or more goddess-like to anyone in your history of existence. You found your person for this journey and finally - you have found your Happily Ever After, and life will be perfect...
What's that? He has kids? Well that's okay, you like kids. What now? They are teenagers? Well that's just fine - you have teenage kids too. They will meet and they will all get along perfectly and they will sing songs loudly in the kitchen and laugh during family dinner and crave time together and we'll all be one big crazy family, and nothing can ever go wrong... right?
I mean, two adults, raised differently, each raising two kids differently, in different environments, in different stages of so many changes in their lives, with raging adolescent hormones and first world problems that would make any reasonable adult cringe, should be shiny, happy rainbows of blended family bliss, right? What could possibly go wrong here?
If you haven't heard - hear this right now... BLENDED FAMILIES ARE HARD. They are harder work than your regular run of the mill, family next door, undivorced, untainted, one set rules, never known anything different kind of family. Blended families are a mash up of people thrown together, forced to try to like each other. They are kids and parents and males and females, and personalities and values and histories that collide on a continual basis, wreaking havoc on relationships, twisting words and feelings. They are filled with weird situations and dynamics that nightmares are made of. They are made up of "you're not my mom" and "you're not my dad", followed quickly by "yeah and you're not my kid". And in it all... everyone has to try to find some peace. Everyone is just trying to hang on. It can't go on forever, right? Just hang on...
It's hard. And it's not like "wow this math test is hard" kind of hard. More like "Jesus Christ, the boat is going to sink in the middle of this ocean that is dark and twisty in the storm, and I am going to be eaten by a very nasty shark and shit out for whales to eat while no one even cares that you took the boat in the first place because they all thought you went on a cruise" kind of hard.
It's the kind of hanging on that blisters your hands and makes your muscles weak, and your mind full of how you can make it easier. It's the struggle that makes you wonder what the hell you were thinking in the first place. I mean, dating? Kids? Living together? Moving? What. Were. You. Thinking?
Have I mentioned that blended families are hard? Really, really hard?
Last night I found myself piled up in a wreck of it all. A blended family chaotic mess of he said, she said, she lied, she's mean, he's this, she's that, I can't take it anymore, yelling and crying and defensiveness and baggage, old hurts and new hurts, I just wanna go home but where the hell is that and how fast can I get there, I don't want to be alone, but Lord, I just wish everyone would just shut up for five minutes- rubble. News flash kids - this happens - a lot. It has to. It is, I have decided, impossible not to given the circumstances. There will be an explosion every so often. No one dies, but everyone gets hurt. Everyone bleeds a little and goes to bed wounded.
The magic (yes, magic), is in the recovery. Sometimes a bomb goes off, and it takes five minutes of reset. Sometimes it takes hours or days. I believe some of it will take years. The point is, with effort comes the recovery - and when it happens, that's where you can find the magic. The magic of a cohesive, peaceful family meal. The magic of laughter in the togetherness. The magic in a mutual understanding and cease fire. Effort. Learning. It's necessary...and hard.. and worth it.
I can look over at my partner at the end of the day, and know, for certain there is love. I know there is effort, and commitment. I know he is the other half of my bomb squad - even when I am holding the bomb, or he's holding the detonator. He is my recovery, and I am his. And these damn kids of ours - well they may be a mine field, but I know with each hit - we will recover. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. We will all be better...eventually. Maybe everyone won't send each other Christmas cards each year, but I hope everyone knows there will always be some one else there when you feel alone and the bombs are being weighed. And when the silence comes, someone will hold your hand while you recover.
But it won't be easy.
It will be worth it. I promise.
oh...P.s. - what was I thinking? "My God, I love that man. No matter what, and for always." That's what I was thinking.