As stepcouples, do you ever watch other “normal” families together… talking, playing, laughing and teasing each other so comfortably, kids calling their parents Mom and Dad etc? Ever notice that the parents always seem know what to do and they always jump in without hesitation. Seems so natural and comfortable. Everyone fits together nicely…so it seems.
I used to stare at other families and conclude that they had NO problems; they were PERFECT families. I was the one who had problems. My family was different. We were a stepfamily…hardly a perfect family. There were days when I didn’t know IF or HOW I could do it. I’d come home from these family gatherings depressed. I felt alone, and incompetent. There didn’t seem to be many stepfamilies to model from. If there were, they weren’t obvious. Too often, stepfamilies suffer from a shadow of shame that follow them, so they hide it.
We had our hands full with five children to raise from two different families. We had complicated visitation schedules, ex-spouses to deal with, and so many soccer games to cover that even when we split up we couldn’t catch all of them. We had new relationships to build with our stepchildren and they with us. We did the best we could at building our new stepfamily.
Years have passed, and the kids are grown with children of their own. What I’ve learned through the years is that our family was and is pretty darned great! And all those families that I judged as PERFECT…I’ve learned that they had their own set of challenges to deal with that took them to their knees, just like we did.
Life is a journey, after all. The stepcoupling and stepfamily journey is one of the most challenging and rewarding. It’s worth every bit of blood, sweat, and tears.
Do you agree? Can you predict how you’ll be doing in 2, 5, or 10 years from now?
Susan Wisdom LPC
September 28, 2008