Live, Love, Blend:
Why My Sister And I Dropped the ‘Step’ from ‘Step-sisters’
Not long ago, a woman who was counseling one of my children told me that “blended families never REALLY blend.” We haven’t been back to see her. She may have a fancy degree and countless hours of studying and counseling, but she does not have a blended family. Plus, she was wrong to take away hope for a ‘normal’ family. I know this because, as the product of parents who divorced and then both remarried, I am a BLENDIE and I wouldn’t trade my family for anything!
I talk a lot about the relationships between parents and children in blended families, but equally important are the relationships kids form with each other. I was an only child, a very lonely only child, until my parents remarried. Suddenly, the thing I’d wished for on my birthday candles for years came true… I had siblings! Now of course due to age differences and such, I’m closer to some than others, but I think that’s true in any family. However, last weekend in the midst of participating in a mud run with one of these siblings I realized something amazing… I no longer think of her as a ‘step.’ She’s just my sister. Do our feelings for each other differ from the way ‘real’ siblings feel about one another? We don’t know because we don’t have any full-blood siblings. So who cares?! We love and respect one another. We love and appreciate each others husbands and children. We are sisters, and we know that although life can get pretty messy, we always have each others backs!
The only thing that we perhaps do differently is that we’re careful not to criticize the other one’s parent. If our parents are driving us bonkers, we just refer to them as “the folks”, rather than saying “your mom did this” or “your dad did that.” We learned long ago that even though it’s okay to complain about your own parent, if someone else does it, your automatic response is to be defensive. We don’t need to attach blame to one specific parent; they are a couple, and will continue to aggravate us all of their days. That’s what parents do!
Now as my husband and I guide our own blended family I draw on the strength of the relationships I have with my own siblings. I have learned not to try and control the relationships our children have with each other. They will form bonds in their own time and in their own unique ways. I just pray that one day, like me, they will drop the ‘step.’
What about you? Have you noticed the unique ways your children bond with their new siblings?