35 years ago it was so unusual for a family to be "non-nuclear" that "The Brady Bunch" was an award winning icon of the blended family.
When the family I grew up in came together in the early 1980's, blended families were still enough of a phenomenon that a psychologist actually wrote an article about us.
Today, being a member of a blended family is fairly ho-hum. Television shows focus on other sad, fascinating or just plain voyeuristic aspects of the modern American family. Did you have 6 babies all at once? You can have a TV show! Do you feed your children too much junk-food? You can have a TV show, too! Do you and your family want to remodel your home, travel around the country in an RV, live a pious, Jesus-centered life, swap wives and mothers for a week, or start your own business? All of you can have your own TV shows too. If you're a plain old member of a step-family, you're no longer interesting enough to garner the attention of the American television watching public.
I can personally attest to the fact that being a member of a blended family is anything but ho-hum. Not only was I the child of a loving blended family, but I'm now carefully building one of my own. It's challenging, rewarding, painful, joyous, and sllllloooowwww. Members of blended families sometimes feel sadness, jealously, anger, and confusion. And sometimes they feel love, joy, kindness and hope. Sometimes members of blended families don't know what to feel.
But despite any challenges that come with nurturing a blended family, here is one important thing I've learned: it's never a bad thing to have more people in my life to call family. It's never a bad thing to have more people to love! It's a gift that our children have so many grown-ups in their lives who love them and accept them as unconditionally as Hallie, Sophia, Adam and Eleanor are accepted. And whether or not they realize it today, it's a gift that Hallie, Sophia, Adam and Eleanor have one another ("but she's sooooooo annoying!").
As my wedding day approaches, it's not cold feet or fear or trepidation that I'm feeling. What I feel is deep gratitude and a growing sense of contentment. I am grateful to all the amazing people in my life that I am fortunate enough to call family. You have made my life what it is; you've shaped me and nudged me and loved me and left me alone when that was the best thing.
Dan and I are embarking on an incredible journey to build the family and life of which we dream. And how can that not make a woman content?
We're getting married in 5 days.