Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Many Tentacles

Nope, not like this!
Blending is difficult--I think mixing is better--"Shaken, not stirred" kinda describes what it is like to smoosh families together.  Here we are, two separate formerly intact families with our own histories, ups & downs, trials & tribulations, interactive scripts, etc., & now the shake-up: the two families are expected to blend into a new family unit.  HAH!  In fact, an article in the New York Times talks about how truly unrealistic it is:

"The old, Brady Bunch stepfamily model — the so-called “blended family” — has long been out of favor. Indeed, the term is almost universally loathed by family therapists for the unrealistic expectations it promotes of previously unrelated children blending harmoniously with one another and a new adult, and the disjunction between that rosy vision and the more prickly reality that is stepfamily life." --Penelope Green 11/17/10
The article goes on to say that with "blended families", & really any other non-traditional family,  "there’s not one container for this new, many-tentacled thing called 'a family'.”  I concur--and we are learning to make it work daily.

I spent the second half of my vacay with Xing Fu & his kids more or less living with them & it was certainly a good dress rehearsal for the real thing--except that my kid wasn't there--that will be the real test--when all of us are in the house together.  I guess that won't really happen until we move but at least the days together were an opportunity to see what it all may be like.  Again, coming off the week, Xing Fu remarked that he felt it was a great success & I suppose that it was, for us at least, as he stated.  It was certainly far more difficult for his kids--sharing his attention.  I think my son is used to sharing my attention by now as he has had to do so longer than Xing Fu's children--for them it is still an adjustment.  But it is getting easier I think as the weekends go on & I continue to be a significant part of his weekends with his kids.  And I think it is important to continue to do so, so that when the inevitable move occurs, no one will be in a state of shock & awe.  We are no Brady Bunch that is for sure--even when, during one of the first times both of our families were together, one of Xing Fu's kids said that it was like the Brady Bunch & now they had a brother!  Yeah, we'll see how having a brother goes over when they have to deal with stinky socks....

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