Families come in all sizes and shapes. Families are not defined as they were in the 1950s, the Cleaver-version with a mom wearing heels and pearls waiting at home for dad to come home so she can bring him a cocktail, a pipe, and slippers while their 2.2 children anxiously await him coming back from the office. I’m thrilled the days of Ward and June, Wally, and The Beaver are over.
The world today has families of all sizes, shapes, and varieties. My husband and I (and our little dog too) make up a type of household commonly referred to as DINKs (Dual Income No Kids).
One of the most prevalent types of families today are Step Families and today is a special day to take the time to honor and celebrate living in or having a family close to you defined as a “Step Family.” It is an extraordinary kind of family that originates from loss, therefore, inherently, anyone living in such a family is managing, in some fashion or another, sometimes in big ways and sometimes in small ways, how members adjust to and grieve that loss.
Whether stepfamilies come about as a result of the death of a parent or divorce, the resulting remarriage, even without kids, constitutes a different kind of relationship that needs care, time and consideration of all the emotional baggage and issues involved the loss. Even when the children in stepfamilies are adults, there are still sometimes issues of concern that arise.
I had two step-grandparents myself growing up, which was somewhat unusual in those days. I always considered it an honor to have three sets of grandparents instead of two. I treated them as if they were my actual grandparents and hoped they thought of me as their grandchild. That’s not to say that the boat my step family rode in was always in smooth waters, but we stayed on the boat and nobody ever drowned. There were occasional times of conflict to work through. There were rarely times when everybody was happy all of the time, but the resiliency of a stepfamily can be just as strong as a natural one-couple family.
Take time to today to celebrate your stepfamily, the half or step-people in your life. The following links are excellent resources to help guide families through the transitional periods involved with newly-forming stepfamilies. There are some great FAQs and clarification of some commonly held myths about stepfamilies.
We no longer have to fear the wicked step-mother who won’t let Cinderella go to the ball. Stepmothers are rarely that evil. Let’s try to think of them as the Lady dad found to love instead. It’s hard to hate someone your daddy loves.
National StepFamily Resource Center