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Monday, May 24, 2010

Blending families


Are you a woman facing divorce or separation? Parenting or grandparenting step-children? Trying to help your own children adjust to new family circumstances? Or through death or divorce, have your own parents found new partners that you have to adjust to?
Welcome to the club.
Women throughout history have been the nucleus around which their families coalesce, and that role has always been difficult even under the best of circumstances. But now, with the expansion and re-definiton of family, women might be compared to the circus performer who spins plates with one hand, juggles apples with the other, twirls hoops on her feet while balancing a glass of water on her head. Blended families have become the norm, and women today, of all ages and stages in life have to navigate the uncharted territory. Conflict takes on new dimensions, and simple communication becomes complex.
My extended family might be representative of yours. We have at least one member who represents eight decades, from great-grandparents in their eighties down to newborn. We have religious views ranging from agnostic to Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Buddhist. Our ethnicity varies. Most are Caucasian, but if the Vietnamese portion of my family lined up, you'd think you were in downtown Saigon! We also have family members who are Indian, Native American, and African-American. Talk about blended families! Mine looks Star Wars convention!
My heroine in A Corner of Universe is confronted with choices concerning her husband's adult son and how to integrate him into her already challenging situation. In doing research for the book, I discovered several resources that can provide help, support and information for blended families. Try here, here and here.

4 comments:

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Rebbie,

It sounds like you have a very interesting family. I'm reminded of the TV show Modern Family. America is truly a land of great diversity.

Drue Allen said...

I, also, have a blended family - something I never envisioned for myself. Happened to me 10 years ago (proving God does have a sense of humor). I dealt with it by writing articles on the topic, but to write a NOVEL . . . hats off to you, Miss Rebbie. : ) I can't wait to read it.

Joyce Moore said...

Rebbie: Even without the ethnic differences, blended families can be problematic. Now, with remarriages and caregivers for aging relatives, it's like reverting to an earlier time when whole families lived together. I would really miss my privacy.

Rebbie Macintrye said...

Jacqueline, thanks for the comment! And I agree, "interesting" is a term that would apply to my family!
Drue, I also never dreamed that my family would look like it does! An thank you so much for the compliments!
And Joyce, I agree that aging relatives and caregivers are also another component of blended families. Despite our diversity, though, we all have one thing that keeps us a family: in all that mass of people, each of us loves at least one other.