Blending families is not for the faint of heart.
I married a man who has three children. I have three children. We came together when said children were launching into life. They were and are young adults fine of mind, body and spirit.
When contemplating this blending adventure, I drew pictures in my mind of a doubled tribe happily meshing into a glorious larger whole. Our children, who already liked each other immensely, would take to the shared roof adventure with great gusto.
And so they have. But not in the ways my imagination drew.
What we are discovering is that each group needs its time. So this weekend, Cooper has travelled to Kansas City to be with his three children and mine are gathering here for a trip to the holy land of the cabin.
For a weekend, we will live rhythms of family we have known for decades. Of course there will be cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Of course it will be hard to get Jameson out of bed. Of course we will sit under the stars and feel awe. No one will have to be explained into shared memories and jokes, and the delicate work that is weaving the new will be given over to relaxing into the old.
Years ago I would have counted this parallel play as indictment of the new. Now I see it as healthy and celebratory relishing of the power of growing up in a stew of shared assumptions and ways of being. In psycho-speak, we’re affirming differentiation. Relishing the apart does nothing to malign the new.
So, when Leah steps off the plane from Denver tonight, we will load three siblings, a dog, a cat, and a humming mother into a Jetta (it’s a good thing we like each other and the dog will not be wet!) and make the trek to the cabin. For a weekend, we will be teasing, savoring people who have shared so much life, love, and struggle.
When Cooper joins us on Sunday, he will be washed with the same and the glow from his own time with his babies will shine from him.
That’s how it is. Thanks be to God.
This beautiful post makes me so happy. “Affirming differentiation” is a tough thing to learn and embrace. I imagine you all happily ensconced in your magical cabin and it is a lovely picture.