Nowadays, it is way past normal for a child to grow up in a blended family. The nuclear, traditional structure that God intended for the family dynamic has been usurped by the random choices of men and women. These choices directly influence how the children born of these unions will mature. It is up to men and women to make sure that stirred up kids are not shaken from the trees that hold the roots of the child’s foundation; just like me.
I grew up in a blended family; I was in two of them. It never occurred to me how I was affected, until I perpetuated it on my first-born. It has helped me also see that well, we all have daddy issues on some level.
I cannot remember a time when my Dad wasn’t around. For all the important days growing up, he was front and center, right alongside of Mom. The thing is though, on a day-to-day basis, it was me and Moms. I could call Dad (Mom made sure I did) but I never lived with him. Besides the holidays and weekends, I was never able to consistently open my eyes in the morning and say “good morning Dad.” This never really bothered me, at least I do not recall it ever bothering me. If I ever needed to talk to him, I could. If I needed something, he’d try to get it, or help my mother acquire it (or so I assume). But the daily hugs and kisses from Dad? Nope; did not happen.
I never asked my parents why they didn’t make it as a couple. As far as I was concerned, it was none of my business. If they wanted to share, cool. Even at 31, I have realized they raised me the best way they knew how, which is really all anyone could ever ask of their parents. Yet, I still wonder, had I grown up in a “traditional” family have affected my life’s choices? Who knows. Again, it really does not matter. My folks had to live their lives, and the way they did influenced me though.
My father got married when I was around 6. To this day, I have nothing but love for my second mother. Growing up though, I never wanted to offend her, or allow my mother to feel like I had split loyalties. Heck of a way to feel at under 10 years old. I could not decipher it then, but I can now. After a couple of years, BOOM! I had now a little brother. He was born when I was 8. It took some adjusting to the fact that Dad now had another son; and I wouldn’t grow up with this baby in the same house. He would grow up with MY Dad though. Looking back, I guess I could have been upset, but I don’t think I was. I had never lived with Dad, so how could I miss it? Yet, I was missing what my new brother was able to have. I never felt like an outsider though, so this feeling was admittedly fleeting. Time went on and I took to being an older brother quite well. A few years after this, my mother got married and things shifted again.
Mom and dad number 2 (D2) seemed happy, and I was happy for her. Perhaps me and D2 could build a bond and voilà, I got a Pops in the house too. Not to replace my dad, just to augment his place when he couldn’t be there. Yeah, well, that didn’t quite happen. I learned and continue to learn from D2, but that connect just wasn’t happening, and it really still isn’t there; probably because he wasn’t Dad.
I’ve grown into a pretty well-adjusted man. I love all my parents, but I vowed never to have any of my children grow up like I did, in the non-traditional way. That didn’t quite work out too well, as I now have a daughter, not born of my wife. Knowing how it felt growing up like this, I feel guilty for subjecting my daughter to the same situation. I know that her mother and I wouldn’t have made it as a couple, in hindsight. This knowledge still doesn’t ease the feeling that somehow, I already have failed in providing my daughter the most stable upbringing possible. Her mother deserves happiness , and I do to. However, since I couldn’t get the biblically prescribed stability that she needs done right the first time; seeing her father love a woman as his wife, in a healthy way, is the next best thing.
At least it’s what I tell myself to sleep better at night.