We are becoming a blended family. It is amazing !!!! and frustrating !!!! at the same time.
Amazing, because a wonderful, loving, lovely man is going to be part of our lives—for the rest of our lives. Someone who is supportive and kind and whose heart knows no bounds and who will show my daughters that there are kind, responsible, adult men in the world who take care of their responsibilities, who do not ‘slough off’ their chores and jobs to someone else, who do not lose their temper at the most irrelevant things (or even relevant things) and throw things and break things, who is generous of heart and spirit and caring.
Frustrating, because at this point, the “blend” has not yet happened, and I keep explaining to my sweetheart darling, that until he is a more permanent fixture in our lives and in our house, he cannot be mr. stepdad, not yet. Sure, he is welcome to support me and should someone not be finishing their broccoli at the table, chime in. Sure, I love that he plays with the girls and helps out with homework, the 1 or 2 times he is around in a week. But no, I’m sorry that it’s so hard to understand, but no, he cannot yet be mr. instant disciplinarian, not until we are fully blended. Yes, he is very important, but he is not part of our family YET. Soon, so very soon, but until then, we have to be careful about boundaries.
Because: his presence of once or maybe twice a week is not established, not routine. For them, when he shows up, it’s party time and celebratory time. And that’s actually awesome. They ask if he’s coming after work, they miss him when he is unable to be there due to work schedules, they run to the door when he does come, because they are excited to spend time with him. He is a wonderful, happy, presence—a presence that is currently part-time.
It’s amazing that he wants to step in and be a part of our lives, I am so excited and happy and appreciative of this. That our relationship, built on love and mutual respect and sincere appreciation for our strengths (and weaknesses) is so strong, that now we are willing to forge a new, blended family together. That over this last year he has grown to love and adore the girls, and they love and adore him, and that somehow, our relationship and our hearts have expanded three sizes too big to hold this whole family inside, safe and supported.
It’s frustrating that my ex has begun a negative campaign whenever he can, that when my daughters come home from a visit, they are suddenly ‘sad’ about the upcoming nuptials, or suddenly don’t want to call him their special name (NOT dad or daddy, as we’ve made very clear that they while we will be a new family, they will always have their father, so dad or daddy is reserved for their ‘real’ dad), because daddy is “not comfortable” with it.
Frustrating, because while I’ve had three years to learn how to disengage and defend by being positive in the face of my ex’s negative campaigning, my fiancé gets frustrated and wants me to fight, to engage, to confront, to challenge, on any front that will end up only harming the children. I think it might be an alpha male thing—he wants to protect us, but in an alpha male way. Even after consulting with my amazing family attorney on what to expect and being counseled on how to react—we need to be careful. We need to not provoke or drag out a pointless conversation. And beyond and above, we need not put the children in the middle by ‘demanding’ to know what dad has said about this or that. If my girls come to me with a concern, they need to know that they can, free of judgment or harsh reaction. That they come to me at all is a sign that they trust me, and I see how hard it is when their dad says shit about me, we cannot do the same to them.
Amazing that no matter what, on the good days, I still believe that love and happiness and believing in the good in people will win out, and save the day, and it’s what is best for me and the girls.
Frustrating, because I do get triggered, I do have PTSD, and I worry that when I describe my PTSD triggers to my fiancé, he sometimes flips out and tells me to be more aggressive in ways I know will not be helpful. I know this is normal, human behavior, and he has acknowledged and understands that the best advice is to follow the attorney. It’s a learning process for him.
Amazing, that after all of the heartache and fear and terrorizing of the past, I’ve grown up and put on my big girl pants and did some very hard work in therapy, that allowed me to open up my heart and accept love that is kind and generous and doesn’t ask for anything in return, that doesn’t come with a price.
Amazing, that when my fiancé and I do have disagreements, it doesn’t turn into him throwing or breaking things or “making us pay” an emotional toll. I’m learning that it’s normal to disagree without all of those violent trappings. (I wish it wasn’t so amazing that it took me 20 years to learn this, but I suppose I’ll put that in the amazing category that at least I’ve learned it now.)
Amazing, that despite all the frustrations and challenges and worries about what my ex might or might not do, I can still create a positive, loving household with my children. That we can blend and be a house of love and accept challenges and celebrate hopes and do our damndest to make our dreams become reality.
Amazing that a life that I pictured so differently, is changing and becoming a life I could have never imagined.