So, what really makes a family?

December 15, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Back in the really, really olden days, when life was simpler, families were much simpler too. There was often just Ma, Pa and the Juniors. All together and quite cosy in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house minus alfresco, media room and split system air conditioner.

Grandad might have still worked the farm next door and Grandma (who stuck by him during the Great War, AND, The Depression) was an expert at darning and churning butter. Life was simple, and it was good!

How times have changed!

I am the product of what would be considered, by some, a rather traditional – and fairly boring – family. I’ve one mother, one father and one brother. Zip. End of tree. My father had one sister. My mother has one brother. I have 5 cousins. There are restaurants that could seat my entire immediate family at a single table, not that I can remember the last time we ate together!

My mother's family! Here she is with her parents and her brother! Too cute!

Determined to be different, I’ve broken the mould and my children are experiencing a very different family life to the one I knew. My kids and I illustrate what many contemporary families now look like and, to be honest, I would not change a thing.

My two very dear oldest children are the product of a marriage, a union in which I kept my maiden name – a concept once unheard of, but now not too uncommon. After divorce, their father remarried and so now my boys, once a pair, now have two step-brothers, a step-sister and a whole collection of step-relatives at their father’s.

The story does not end there though, there are further twists and turns, bear with me!

I repartnered too, but not with a marriage certificate. We’ve had a child together, a baby girl! A daughter for my partner and I, and a half-sister to my boys. Is my daughter’s father, AKA my dear partner, called a defacto-step-father to the boys? Who knows or cares and are labels really so important? Do love, commitment and care come with a label? Not in my family.

Like many blended families and step-families the care of my boys is shared. They live with us 50% of the time, and then with their father the other half of their lives. Is it easy? Hell, no. I miss them like crazy when they are not here. Is it simple and straightforward? Even less so! It is exactly what it is though … my modern and flexible family!

I truly think that family can be whatever you make it. That special group of loved ones, those who are close to your heart, at home in your house and madly forgiving of you and your foibles.

I’d love to learn about your family … what is it that makes your mob special and unique?




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