“Family is family, whether it’s the one you start out with, the one that you end up with or the family you gain along the way.”
Growing up in a blended family meant that my experience of a family unit was always different to that of my friends. This sometimes meant that I felt alienated and different from the other kids. Constant fighting and division within our household was all I knew and just assumed that this was what it was like for everyone else until I would go to my friend’s house and witness a completely different dynamic.
As I grew older, I began to understand what was happening around me and knew that my family situation was not at all typical but also that I didn’t have to go through it again when I was older because I had learned from my own family.
When I met Hubert the first things we talked about when getting to know each other was our families. We noticed straight away how similar our family history was. His mother had been previously married and had had a daughter and a son from her first marriage, my father had been married before too and also had a son and daughter. We both had 2 half siblings and despite the fact that we had this fact in common, our family dynamics similarities ended there.
Whilst my family struggled for many years to establish a happy family unit and in respect of my half brother and half sister, we were only really able to live a happy childhood because we found it mutually beneficial to stop trying to force our ill-fated family together. In the end our household only consisted of my full-blood sisters (my older and younger sister) my Mum and my Dad. My half brother and half sister left our household to find their own happiness, and once that happened, my sisters and I finally felt safe and happy to live our new lives in a new family.
As for Hubert, his half brother and half sister grew up with their Mum, they also have their biological father but also have their step father who they see as a father figure. Their blended family really began even before Hubert was born so when we finally graced the world with his presence, it wasn’t the case of him having to fit in into a blended family, because his family was as typical as you could get. He grew up being raised as full members of the family, there were no half’s, or steps, they all cared and loved each other just as if they were bred from the same DNA.
Over the years, Hubert and I have been able to observe how each other’s family units works. It really is amazing to see one situation have two very different outcomes.
For years I held so much resentment towards my parents, my siblings and myself for not having been able to make our blended work, but it’s only now in my adult life that I can see that if we had kept trying to make something so wrong work, then we would have made ourselves a lot unhappier for a lot longer. It was good things broke up before they could cause any further damage. Back then we were all so new to the idea of being in a blended family, we were either ill equipped or too young to really know how to deal with the changes and had so many unanswered questions that no many knew the answers to. I can’t blame my parents anymore for what happened because the truth is, they were just as clueless as we were, now I’m an adult I don’t require the apology that for so many years I thought I was owed.
Fortunately for us, time and maturity has allowed to acceptance and understanding. Sure it would have been nice to have grown up in a full and happy household but I don’t feel like I missed out. We’re lucky that now we’ve had time to live a little and experience more of the world, my family are slowly and surely coming together to establish the familial love we weren’t ready for before.
I owe a lot of my new found optimism about my family because I was able to see a blended family work so well in Hubert’s family. His parents raised their children equally and fairly, they didn’t act like a blended family because their love eclipsed anything that biology and blood can even mean. I saw how well his relationship with his family worked, how close he was to his brother and sister, how his siblings treated his father like their own, it was just so beautiful to see so much happiness from a place where as a kid all I saw was sadness.
We thought it would be interesting to talk about our different experiences and what we’ve learned from growing up in a blended family. I’ve put the link to the video above, give it a watch if you’re curious to see what it’s like to grow up in a ‘different’ family, let us know if you’ve had a similar or different experience with either of us!
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday but most importantly, you proud every day!
Peace and Love
Remember you can watch our previous video here:
or read our accompanying blog post here: