With each new year come joys and challenges in a stepfamily. We are thirteen years down the road from blending four children and they are now all adults, two are married and one has blessed us with five grandchildren! We were six in total back in 2009, and now we are thirteen with four furry family members as well. The stories that every family creates are important. Holidays often bring out the best and the worst in a family – and especially in a blended/step/bonus family.
More than the gifts or the expenses are the experiences. What are the most important experiences your step/bonus/blended family has enjoyed? Have you printed the photos out and made the memories relivable? I am the one who takes thousand (literally thousands) of photos, but my problem is I never get them printed out into books. This year my new goal is to make one photo book a month – instead of trying to tackle all thirteen years at once time, I am simply going to go into my Google photos and pick 200 pictures and print them into a photo book with a few captions included. At least that is somewhere to start.
I often get overwhelmed with wanting things to be perfect – this year, instead of being perfect I am going to make “practical” my new word. What is practical? In regard to scheduling time together, what is practical? In regard to gift giving, what is practical? In regard to eating healthy and getting out to take a walk. What is practical? If we begin with practical and take action, then usually that is a much better outcome than trying to be perfect.
The last note about being perfect.. in a blended/bonus/stepfamily nothing is perfect. We long for perfection and yet that is not possible this side of Heaven. My new word for this year is “connected” – what can we do to create connection with each other that is meaningful? For some of our adult kids that means we schedule a Facetime meal and “eat together” over video. For some of the kids that means we babysit the grandkids so they can go out on a date and for the single adult kids, we find time to meet for sushi or coffee… my prayer for everyone in a blended/bonus/stepfamily is that you find ways to be practical and stay connected, through the challenges and obstacles of real life. May the Lord give you insights and ideas that mean something special to your family and don’t forget to print the photo books and re-live the memories over and over!!
Tammy Daughtry, MMFT – Bonus mom, bio mom and Grammy Tammy, all in one. For more information please see www.ModernFamilyDynamics.com and CoParentingInternational.com