Molly wrote an article this week in response to multiple people commenting in the last few months to our family, both to the four of us in person, and behind our backs. Most people are surprised to hear how much negativity is shoved our way due to our family situation. People do not understand our situation. They see my ex married to a younger woman, with two young children. They see me with my older daughters, with crows feet lining my eyes and highlighting my dark circles. People assume they know me and my situation. I am the discarded older woman. People did not live inside of my marriage, so it is easy to point the blame toward one target. They assume to know our scenario, but they are incorrect. Some know bits and pieces from when we were first separated, but the only people who know the entire story are the four people who lived through it, but actually, that is not entirely accurate. The only two people who really get it are Molly and I. As she mentions in her article, we have our reasons for not sharing everything that has happened, and those reasons are our children. We are also in the process of co-writing a book.
I wanted to add a little bit to Molly’s article from my perspective. I understand that for some woman and for some men for that matter, it is difficult to forgive or forget the past, and what someone did that broke your heart. I really do understand. I remember quite well what it felt like to wake up with the weight of my pain bearing down on me every morning, and how it felt pressing down on me as I tried to fall asleep, unable to shake him from my thoughts. The heavier the weight became, the more I disappeared, and I knew that if I wanted to become the best me I could be for myself and my kids I had to lose the weight of the pain and anger. I began the process of letting it go.
Forgiveness of others was easy once I forgave myself.
As she previously stated, our co-parenting relationship has evolved into a friendship–an actual normal friendship. Many things contributed to our developing friendship, one of which being her daughter’s medical condition. Another being our solitary professions, which keep us both from working around other people. Neither of us have co-workers. We also both share several of the same interests. Another large contributing factor was one of my daughters had something traumatic happen to her over the last year, which could have torn our blended family apart, but instead it brought us closer together. I could not discuss what happened to my daughter with just anyone, because not everyone would understand. Molly understood exactly how I felt–she was going through the exact same thing in her household, and I think that was what really bonded us. Several other events happened which resulted from the initial trauma, all bringing us closer together as a family. A couple of months ago both of my parents ended up in the hospital at the same time–in separate hospitals, and one was an emergency situation. My ex-husband and Molly both dropped everything and met me and the ambulance at one of my parent’s homes. When Molly was extremely ill a couple of weeks ago, I offered to take care of her babies if they needed help. We help one another out when we need it, because that it what a family is supposed to do–that is what a friend is supposed to do.
Molly mentioned a little bit about her childhood. My parents got a divorce when I was fourteen, and I had been begging them to get a divorce since I was eleven. My parents were not happy together, and that was apparent to me from as long as I can remember. My father felt rejected by my choice to live with my mother, so there were a couple of years that I hardly heard from him. I realize now that my parents did the best that they could with what they knew at the time, but I was determined to do better for my girls. I did not want them to feel rejected or like they had to choose sides. I did not want to play tug of war with my daughters. I knew there was a better way, and together we found a better way.
While I understand that not everyone is capable of blending their family to the point that we do, I also don’t understand why some people react so strongly to our situation. We recently had blended family pictures taken together, which I think most people think is really strange. Let me explain that the main reason this came about was for this website and for the book we are co-writing. I had already wanted to have family pictures taken of Bob, the girls, and I anyway. Their household was due for their pictures as well, so we decided to do back to back sessions with some poses together. Since we had the photographs taken, Molly put several of them in a frame, and our eldest daughter was touched that Molly was willing to hang pictures of all of us in her home. We had my eldest daughter’s first homecoming about a month ago, which Molly and I both helped her get ready for. All of us took the kids trick-or-treating together. We also had a co-birthday party at our house for our ten-year-old. These are a few examples of some of the things that seem to make some people uncomfortable.
I know I have been saying this a lot. We are all students, and we are not all on the same level. We would never expect a third grader to comprehend sixth grade math, so how can we expect someone to understand our perspective when they have not been through our life experiences? We can’t. So on that note, we might not be “the norm” and what works for us might not work for everyone, but it does work for us. More importantly, our children are happy and well-adjusted.
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.