I am always intrigued by blended families. I sort of got to be a part of one, but not fully. My grandparents on my mom's side divorced and remarried and my paternal grandmother remarried after my grandfather passed away. As a result, I have more cousins than most people do. In fact, I have quite a few aunts and uncles who have divorced and remarried, so you can imagine how large my family is. I have cousins that I've never even met!! I always felt closer to my "bio" or "natural"(if you're into labeling things) family, than my step, partly because it was easier to see that we were related. However, I'm closer to some of my step family members than my natural family members.
At home though, it was just me in my nuclear family. I had my dad, mom, brother and dog. I was secretly envious of my friends who got two Christmases and two birthday parties. However, as a teacher who sees how messy blended families (and some nuclear families) can be, I am grateful that I got to wade in the pond of blended families.
However, I am entering into the deep end of blended families. As Mr. Soup and I prepare for a family our own, I wonder what the relationship will be like between our children and Abby. So far, my family has welcomed her with open arms. My parents love being grandparents. Tonight, I began reading some articles online about "half-sibling" relationships. It is interesting to read about half-siblings. They have such a unique bond. Some are as close as full-siblings (usually those that share a mother) and some are complete strangers (usually those that share a father). My dad had a sister (on his dad's side) who was thirty years older than him. He didn't interact with her until his father died. They kept in touch somewhat, but I don't think my dad ever really thought of her as his "sister." Whereas, Abby and her sister (on her mom's side) are very close. They are three years a part and even though they do not look anything alike, their bond is very apparent. It isn't surprising that those who share a mother are closer than those who share a father. Most children reside with their mother. I just hope this isn't an indicator of our family.
And while we will never make the distinction between full and half siblings in our family, there will be some notable differences: at least a ten-year age gap and different residences. I wonder what Mr. Soup and I can do to nurture the relationship? I have to accept that their relationship may not be exactly what I envision, but I hope there is a bond. Okay, I'll say it. I want there to be a STRONG bond!
I know there will be family vacations, holidays, etc., but what about the everday sibling relationship building? My brother and I are close because we both share common experiences: being nagged at by our mom, breaking important home decorations, unloading the dishes together, fighting over the phone, etc... These things may not be possible with such a large age gap and different addresses.
I guess I'm looking for a model of some sort or instruction guide, but as with life there is none.I do have a glimmer of hope. Mr. Soup has a younger brother (on his mom's side). There is a thirteen year age difference and they did not grow up together. However, they definitely have a strong, brotherly bond. Mr. Soup said when he was younger, he would take his brother with him places (probably to pick up girls =), and he would attend important events for his brother. However, they could bond over playing video games and engage in sibling rivalry when things didn't go in one's favor.
Anyways, I'm including a link to an article I read about half-siblings. It was very insightful. I think this is an area in which psychologists and sociologists could gain more information. Our country is full of blended families and not just from divorce. If we can nurture these relationships and creative positive, healthy family dynamics, we can have such an impact on society. Imagine: emotionally healthy people? ahhh! http://http//www.guardian.co.uk/family/story/0,,2254676,00.html