I’m going to flat-out, straight-up admit something about myself right here.
I love hearing other people’s “my family is messed up” stories.
Now…what I mean by “messed up” is basically anything other than a story of two parents who stayed married forever and their 2.5 kids. I used to think that those kinds of stories were pretty normal. That is, of course, while I was young and naïve and hadn’t gotten to know anyone very well.
When I first separated from my husband I was kind of convinced that my kids were going to end up messed up. I mean…they were coming from “a broken home”, right? As time went on, and as I got more comfortable with this whole “divorced family” thing, I realized that divorce doesn’t necessarily equal messed up kids. Just like an “intact” family doesn’t guarantee happy, healthy kids, either.
When I first met CBG and learned about his story — I’ll be honest, it made me cringe a little bit. Three kids, three different baby mommas. One of those kids he didn’t even know at that point. Yikes. I didn’t let that scare me off, though; and as I got to know him a little bit more, I accepted his family story as a part of him.
As I’ve gotten out in the world, and met lots of different people with different backgrounds, I’ve begun to learn their stories, too. And what I’ve come to see is that stories like ours, “atypical families”, are actually a lot more common than likely most people know. Stories of adopted siblings, parents divorced and remarried numerous times, long lost half siblings, several baby mommas or daddies, people raised by family members other than their parents….the list goes on and on. I’ve come to believe that most people have at least one branch of their family tree that doesn’t fit into the “traditional mold”.
And guess what? That’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay…it’s all part of what makes this world an interesting place. If we were all the same, well, how boring would that be?
The truth is, we, as humans are messed up. We make mistakes. We make our own choices that aren’t necessarily the same choices that other people would make in the same situation. But as long as we go through life with an open heart and mind, willing to own our mistakes and learn from them, well, it’s all good.
I’ve come to love hearing other people’s atypical family stories. They remind me that there’s no one “right” way to have a family. Families come in many different shapes and sizes. It’s utterly fascinating and wonderful. Our family now includes five kids. These five kids have four different biological moms, and two different biological dads. Three of these kids have a dad and a stepdad. One kid has three dads — the dad who raised her, her step dad, and her “bio dad”, who recently just burst onto the scene.
These kids also have some step-grandparents, and even a step-step grandmother for good measure. Throw in some step-aunts and step-uncles and a few step-cousins all around and life just gets even more interesting.
My oldest daughter observed something interesting recently. She made mention of how extended our newly blended family has become, and that she really liked how she’s got “so many more people in her life who love her”. Such an amazing way to see things.
At this rate, we’ve got an incredible amount of love.