The blog below was written by our thirteen-year-old bonus daughter Haven. It has not been changed or edited by her parents in any way.
I sure hope it helps some of you understand the mindset of a kid in a blended family.
Our family has many dimensions, Haven and Kane have lived through divorce, while Addison and Matthew have lived through death. One thing I have learned in the past several years is that pain can’t have a comparison scale within the confines of a family. We all have our stuff to work through; there is nothing to be gained from saying who has it worse.
Love is having someone who is with you every step of the way. My bonus mother Michelle is that person for me…I could always talk to her. She loves me like I was always a part of her family. When my dad first introduced my brother and me to Michelle, he had us call her “Miss Michelle.” I never understood why but that name just stuck. One of my first thoughts about Michelle was that she was really pretty. I think that was the first thing I had said to her. Before meeting Michelle, it was just my little brother, my dad and me in Arizona. I remember I would go to my dad’s house a couple of months in the summer and stay with my mom in Bozeman for the rest of the time. This only happened for a year or so. It was tough, but they did their best to make it work, and I was happy. I mean it never really sank in that my dad could marry another woman. Also that he was never going to get back together with my mom, but he was happy, and I hadn’t seen him smile as he did with Michelle. My dad loved her and Michelle loved him, and they were happy. From my point of view all of the time they were together they had grown so much. As I had said before “love is when someone stays with you through thick and thin” and that is what they had done for each other.
After they were married, blending proved to be a challenge. They had decided to move to Bozeman to be closer to Kane and I. It was only the start of our lives and I didn’t think it was that much of a change for Addison and Mathew considering they were ages 8 and 6. My dad had agreed with my mom to change the custody agreement where my brother and I would transition two weeks with each parent. It was hard for my brother and me. We joke now about having to bring a suitcase back and forth because we never really know which house our stuff ends up at. Each house was different in so many ways. I think that was one of the reasons why my dad and mom got in a divorce. They were just two completely different people. I am glad that Michelle and my dad have found each other.
When we first started living together as a family, it was like we chose sides. My brother and I would stay close to our dad or close to each other, but we didn’t really “blend” right away. If we went on family walks, we would talk to one another, or if we were at a park altogether, Kane and I would play together. I believe Addison and Mathew did that as well. I think it was an issue of staying close to things that we are familiar with the most. If Michelle would try to act “motherly” I would push her away because I already had a mother and I was not looking for another one. Having a new dad was not as hard, I guess when my mom found someone new I was ok with him, mostly because he had a quality that my dad also has but doesn’t always show. I still love my dad, and he still loves me, but I still call all of the new additions by there the first name because I never was looking for new family members. It all goes back to sticking to the familiar things in your life. Michelle still always loved me, and I loved her; it just took me a while to show it to her and my stepdad Kevin. Michelle never gave up on me and still showed compassion and love when I didn’t show it back. She was always there even when I necessarily didn’t want her to be, and that is exactly what I consider love.”
Haven is right, it hasn’t been easy on any of us. Blending is HARD work and you have to be willing to give and take. You also have to be willing to give up the idea of always being right and expectations beyond your control. I love her and I’m glad she is one of my girls.
Haven is getting ready to go on our her eight grade Washington DC Trip this May. We are making her earn her way there!! Help support Haven by buying one of her handmade “Love is Love” or “Love Wins” bracelets at the link below. She will custom make yours with love and send it off!