Growing Pains

I am nursing a sore shoulder and back today (let’s observe a moment of silent thanks for prescription painkillers) after spending the evening at a skate party in celebration of my daughter’s 11th birthday. Even though no one in our family skates, she had a great time tiptoeing around the rink with her friends while her 3 year old sister pulled my shoulder out of the socket.  I loved the fact that the party was actually fundraiser for her school’s PTA so all the kids were already there (yay for no actual coordination required from me!).  My daughter was absolutely thrilled that her whole family was there, trying to stay on our feet.

The painkillers helped my shoulder for sure but there isn’t really an antidote to the pain that can accompany the blending of families and lives. Taking a look at our line up I sometimes wonder, always give thanks that we’ve managed to blend as well as we have.

Who is in the family? Her oldest half-sister (a freshman in college, cleared her busy schedule), her baby half-sister and my (almost) ex-husband were all on skates. My sister, niece and nephew were there and at home we had my mother and grandmother, ready for birthday cake. I almost forgot my oldest child, her big brother who was too cool to skate. On the surface it might seem odd that all these relationships that didn’t end exactly right can produce a family fun night.

In the beginning there were challenges for sure. The mom of my big girl (the college freshman) wasn’t very warm to the idea of me spending time with her daughter even after 2 years of being with my ex. After I had a child with him the relationship between the she & I improved and our kids spent more time together.  Maybe she was waiting till I knew what her suffering (in re: him) was about! And then I had baby number 2, and my big girl was so happy to have a little sister that we couldn’t have kept them apart if we tried.

For my daughters, my husband is the only dad they’ve known. The fact that our marriage didn’t work out doesn’t change that fact. So he will be here for birthdays and holidays. Hopefully people that he & I have relationships with in the future will understand that and be accepting. My point is that it can work, even when puzzle pieces don’t seem like they’ll fit. With patience and perseverance (and the occasional painkiller) anything is possible


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