Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Things I learned this week: The Blended Family version

SG's* daughter got married this past Saturday. It was my first real experience at a major event with a blended family - ever! Here is what I learned from the experience:

1. My parents have been married 43 years, so I am not familiar with the ins and outs of divorced families. I've attended a few weddings in the past of friends, and I get glimpse from time to time, but this was my first time being on the inside. What I learned was that labels have to be dropped. Leave them at the door. And here is why:

2. SG is Kaitlyn's step dad. But for all intents and purposes, he raised her and she calls him Daddy. He is her Daddy. Blood does not matter. I got it this weekend, and it sort of took me a minute to truly understand. Then I remembered all of those foreign exchange students I hosted over the years, and though their stay with me was brief (typically one year,) I love them and consider them family. SG has been in her life since she was 5. Now she is 21. I get it. That's his daughter.

3. I proudly announced to SG when we first met that I am allergic to drama. That I genuinely do not do well with dramatic events. I think he saw once and for all that I was serious. I did not let anything or anyone break my cheerful demeanor. I gave no one an ounce of leverage to put me in a bad light. I did what every good girl must do: I smiled, I laughed, and I was trying very hard to just see the person in front of me, not the label, or the reputation I may have heard of before... just the person.

4. It was incredibly important to make sure the day was about his daughter. I would often bring conversations back around with, "It's the bride's day, so whatever she wants goes." I think it was appreciated.

5. I worked very hard to help out wherever I could. If I saw some people sort of getting tired or falling into the "why should we help" trap, I would step in and do my part. An objective helper is much needed.

Love is love.
Family is family.
Remaining calm and peaceful in a potentially volatile situation is key.

But the truth is... I was at a party, with some new friends and family. I ate well, I drank well, I danced, I laughed, and I celebrated love.

What could be hard about that?

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