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Hello one and all! If this is your first time visiting the ole' Jonesie then please let me explain a little. I write on a variety of topics. (basically whatever may pop into my head or even whatever rant I have for the day.) Some things are a little out there, I admit. But honestly, I have spent so much of my life worrying about what others think that when I finally released myself from the "rules and roles of society" I really began to find myself. So, my request is that you read more than just one post before you decide. I promise somewhere along the way I am sure you will say what so many others have said at one time or another: Jonesie, you simply say what others only think in their heads!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No longer a step family

This past weekend really opened my eyes and I would even say my heart to a degree that I wasn't aware was possible.  I guess one could say I had an "aha" moment regarding the family. 

You see as many of you may know we are a very uniquely blended family of sorts.  There is 10 years difference between myself and hubs with both of us having been married previously and with children.  (He with 2 and myself with 4.)   His two were grown (at least 18 yrs) when we first got together and mine were all under the age of 11.

Through the years we have had what I would call a roller coaster ride of emotions, actions etc.  I've never quite been able to figure it out or even get a semblance of a grip on things until this past weekend and even then I didn't know quite what it was until I did a bit of digging on Google.   Apparently, there is something called the Seven Stages of Development for Stepfamilies or The Step Family Cycle.

Now of course while all this "development" was happening it probably wasn't a good idea to mention this physco babble bullshit to me because I would have probably ripped your head off at any given time. (Maybe that is why God didn't reveal it to me until now?  Geeezz!  Does he always have to be right??)

Anyways, to get on with my story.  Way back in the beginning of our relationship I had this idea that I would approach Chuck's two girls and explain that in no form did I want nor would I try to be in the mother role.  What the HELL was I thinking?  They were still trying to process the death divorce of their parents' marriage.  I mean I had the best of intentions and all.  I truly desired for us to have this relationship in which we all got along and I suppose looking back I thought it was truly possible for us all to tip toe through the daisies.  BARF!

I now know  that this is referred to as stage one.

Stage One: Fantasy

In the beginning, family members have fantasies about what life will be like in the stepfamily. Usually, their only prior experience is biological family living. Consequently, expectations of what is possible in the early years can be distorted. For the adults in the family, the fantasies can include such thoughts as:
  • Their mother never knit for them. Won't they be thrilled with what I can offer.  I can be honest I NEVER felt or even thought ANYTHING remote to this.
  • I love my new wife, so I'll certainly love her children.  I don't know if Chuck felt this but I know that I certainly thought this regarding his kids.
  • I'm glad to have a new father for my children.  This one is interesting.  I am sure it went through my head at some point but I don't think I allowed it to linger because I wasn't really looking for long term anything.

Stage Two: Immersion

This stage has some home runs in it if we were comparing it to what I feel we went through.  It mentions the attempted blending of routines and such of each family.  The kids don't know what to expect and feel as if they like or get along with the "step" they may be disloyal to their own parent.  I NEVER even realized this may be something they might have felt but if so it sure does clear up a few things. It also talks about the stepparent blaming themselves for things which I can say for sure that I did this.  Gosh, the guilt I went through drove me nuts!

Stage Three: Awareness

Wow!  This one really rings true!  It mentions one spouse being able to see the source of the pain but the other not able to deal with it yet.  The first is left feeling as if the other has a lack of commitment in the relationship.  LIGHT BULBS going off!  I used to get so angry with Chuck for what I called playing both fields.  I often felt that he wasn't allowing the two worlds to blend.  Maybe I was still in the fantasy stage thinking we would all just get along!

Stage Four: Mobilization

Just take a few moments to read this stage and decide for yourself because all I will say is that a LOT of time passed in this stage where either arguments or flat out ignoring happened.  

Stage Five: Action

There was definitely a time when things came together and I think healing began.

Stage Six: Contact

This stage refers to the step parent and step children getting to know each other more/better. I can honestly say that I remember the point in which I quit trying to protect everyone's feelings and worried about myself.  I made a definite decision to talk to whomever I chose even if they weren't talking to others.  I removed myself from being in the middle and I must say that is when I feel the relationship between my step daughters and I grew immensely! 

Stage Seven: Resolution

As I mentioned early in this post I didn't even know that these "stages" existed but now that I do things make so much sense.  This past weekend was so AWESOME!  For some unspoken reason the 8 of us seemed to be ok.  I mean I know that there is still room to grow, learn, forgive, love etc. etc etc.  but honestly I can't explain the flood of emotions I felt so many times throughout the party.  I won't go into all of them because some of them are so private they belong in my heart for me to treasure just for me.  But my heart grew so HUGE that I couldn't stop the tears when both my step daughters referred to my kids as their siblings.  I mean that was HUGE!  For the first time I felt the kids (all 6 of them) were in the same room in my heart!  And it's not because I didn't allow them in the same room but because their feelings didn't allow it.  I can see the HUGE strides that the two oldest girls made this weekend to come to the middle (and quite possibly come way across the middle in some instances to join with the other 4).   They probably don't even realize that when they made that figurative trip to the middle they also took the shield that had encased my heart and threw it to the ground.  

In those moments my love for them which honestly has been there all along was finally allowed to BE.  That is it.  Simply be.  I feel free.  I feel as if I have been given permission to love them for the beautiful women they are.  Yea yea, I know mushy but hell I can't help it!  While those two girls may not have been my birth children I can certainly say with all certainty that I have worried, loved and cared over the last several years as they are mine.  Maybe not my children because there aren't enough years in between us but I can tell you they are definitely in my inner circle of don't you dare F with them because I will just have to open a can of mama protection on you!

Take this post for what you will but seriously look at this picture taken at the party and tell me that there wasn't some sort of unseen force working in that room Saturday night!  I mean that is Chuck and myself with all 6 kids plus the 4 grandkids!  (His Our 2 grown daughters Aubrey and Sarah, and my our 4 others, Ashley, Kelsey, Chris and Megan, and our grandchildren Harmony, Serenity, Kaylee and Jonathan)

In the 9 years of our relationship there has never been such a picture much less the THOUGHT of such a picture.  I truly feel we may be in the resolution stage! Whatever stage it may or may not be I am pretty damn proud of my family!


1 comment:

  1. Great picture!!!! I love this post because it shows that people change even when they aren't aware of it happening. I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and there was a reason that your family had to go through some difficult times so that you would notice when you were stronger. If you would have started out as all lovey and sappy most likely it would have been superficial and things would have taken a nose dive at the first sign of hardship. Good for you for just letting things take their natural progression!! Happy you had a better than wonderful time with your family and the party went well! : )


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