We are parents to 5 and grandparents of 2.
And that is that. There is a biological mother of 2 somewhere and a biological father of 3 around but for the purposes of our family, we are mum and dad to 5 since 2000 and Granny and Grandad of 2 over the past 2 years.
Whilst 2 children have contact with their biological father and he is Grandad to one of the grandchildren we share, there is no other Granny to the other grandchild. Both of our DILs parents are Nanny and Grandad. We aren't involved in our children's lives with their other parents, but are a bit more involved with their wives family. For instance I'm currently staying with my DIL's parents whilst visiting our new grandchild.
Only a few people other than family really knows which child belongs to which parent. When we meet people, like new neighbours or colleagues we just say we have 5 kids and 2 grandchildren. As we get to know people, they soon find out which child belong to which parent. The 2 eldest are my husbands, the other 3 are mine. No children together.
With 4 of the children being boys, people will then say how nice it must be to have a girl also and ask if she is married, has kids. We will then say she is disabled and lives in a care home, then when people ask if we knew before she was born of her disabilities, it is at that point I say I'm her step mother as I can't answer those questions and we explain the set up of our family.
Over the years people have said to my husband 'oh you have one of each, whilst others will ask me if I would've liked a girl. For some reason people seem to think a woman is disappointed with only boys and a man is disappointed with only girls. Then they'll add 'well as long as they're healthy, that's all that matters.' Well our daughter is healthy, she just lives in a care home due to complex physical disabilities.
We've had friends who know our situation state that they are blessed to have one of each and a complete family and others who have said god has rewarded them with two 'normal' children. We tend not to stay friends with people who have that attitude.
The latest conversation people feel free to have with us is about our grandchildren. Whilst I'm pleased to say we have one of each, it doesn't stop people who know us telling me that a biological grandchild will feel a lot different to a step grandchild for sure. Mostly these people don't have other children than their own biological ones to care for, or if they do have step children the set up has been that they haven't lived with them, or met them when they teens or even adults.
The thing is as a parent and a grandparent we have no say how a child or grandchild will feel about us either as a step parent or a biological one.
Our children have always referred to us as the Parents, if someone says 'your mum/dad' they've never corrected them, my husband and I are often addressed as Mr and Mrs (surname of my children) but they've always used our first name as the step parent, but introduced us as their mum or dad.
Our grandchildren are fortunate that they have additional grandparents, they'll work it out for themselves when they're older, but for now it makes no difference whether we're biologically related to anyone or not. We're family and that's all that counts.
But it does hurt, that people suggest I may love a step child or their child any less than I love the ones I'm biologically related to. You might think you have good intentions, but I'd rather you kept your comments on our family set up to yourself, I've explained how it works.
Due to where our children live, I tend to spend more time with child 2, his wife and their child. I'm not closer to them, I don't love them more, I just live nearer. I'm the only Granny their child has, DIL's mother is Nanny and lives nearby so spends more time with them also, this grandchild has 2 Grandads. Child 4 and his wife and grandchild live near her parents, their child will spend more time with Nanny and Grandad than with us as Granny and Grandad, there is also another Grandad who the child will grow up knowing. Does it matter that that child 2 is my step son and child 4 is my biological son? Does it mean their child will love us any less? No they'll just grow up into a family that is accepting of them and them of us.
We are parents to 5 and grandparents of 2.
This was a blog post I had originally asked John from @dadbloguk who himself is a step child and writes often about step/blended family dynamics, to post on my behalf anonymously for fear of feedback from people identifying themselves or for discussing our children who are now adults and may see this differently. However as with all things on my blog, this is from my perspective on our family and how family life past and present, informs my life choices. It's a conversation I had recently with child 4 and his wife. I don't write the details of events, just how the events have affected me. Family and friends are welcome to comment, ignore or ask if they don't understand something I've written.
I knew you were a blended family but even after the years of reading your blog I didn't know who's kids were who's and didn't really care, in the nicest possible way as it doesn't matter, you are a family.ReplyDelete
My eldest has a different dad who isn't in our lives to my youngest and it often shocks a lot of people as the girls look so alike. Before my fellas parents passed away my eldest classed them as grandparents and they treated her no different to all the other grandkids and my fella treats both girls the same and always has. x
I have so much admit for families who have blended well and created a loving home!ReplyDelete
Sounds a loving family that work well together x #pocoloReplyDelete
Fascinating read. It really does show that every single family is different. While I have always been very much a part of my family I am, at the same time, also slightly outside of it and have an extended family beyond my nuclear family (although they all live overseas so it's never been that close a relationship, extremely distant with most family members actually).ReplyDelete
What I can really relate to is how other people speak to you. I fear as a stepson I have had a bit of that as well: People making very insensitive comments about my natural family and stepfamily and usually from a point of ignorance. Those comments about having healthy children, I mean wow, just wow! No excuses for that at all. Great to see you wrote this post and love the honesty.
All our children will describe their family differently to the way I have, other than my husbands 2 who have no other family other than my husbands mum and sister, where as my 3 will say 'never met their dad, got one step dad (my husband) who he considers his dad. One will say dad and step dad and the youngest doesn't even acknowledge me, yet alone his step dad. So complicated, but it all works for usDelete
I'm with you - it's about being a family, and that's so much more than who you're related to. #PoCoLoReplyDelete