Most imperfect (read: all) ‘blended families’ will inevitably go through tough times where grown up issues or emotions have an impact on our little ones. In an ideal world, of course this would never happen – the adults would keep their issues with each other and allow the children to carry on with their ‘normal’ – not feeling any disruption or negativity in either home.
Sadly, we do not life in a perfect world and no one person is perfect. While for the children we want nothing more than feelings of routine, structure, love and safety regardless of whose weekend it is… sometimes those pesky grown up feelings result in disruption for the little ones in the middle. Regardless of the reasons why – I can’t help feeling that we should all, as adults and parents, grandparents, friends or relatives (of some form or another), be able to put our feelings aside and act on what is best for the children, which the vast majority of the time is to have strong relationships with both sides of their family. Divorce or separation after all does create a divide and does create sides, the best we can hope for is that both of these are on the side of the child.
Now, I have only held one role in this brawling family hedge (trees just don’t give enough complexity) and only in my situation so of course I have a one-sided biased view as we do of everything. Though I’ve had several experiences recently through different parts of my life which have definitely been eye-opening and thought forming in all these areas. I tend to have quite a simple outlook on life in general, I can be pretty black and white but I also have high empathy and I can usually put myself in a different pair of shoes and begin to understand other people’s outlook. Something I have really had to learn is that it’s ok if I can’t… and I really don’t need to spend a lot of time trying.
Sometimes I think our viewpoints are so different that I can only compare it to being told the sky is brown and green – no matter where I stand or what direction I face my head, the sky -to me- will always be blue, there are night skies, sunrise, sunset, rain clouds, storms, even the northern lights but I will just never see a brown and green sky above me. And I need to be ok with that. I can’t spend another 4 years looking at colour wheels and paint swatches and validating my view with those standing beside me “it’s blue isn’t it? Tell me, honestly, what do you see?”.
When asked the question, “what colour is the sky today?” It’s not just the physics of the reflection and refraction of prisms of light (or whatever the science behind it is) that forms my answer, it’s my whole life up to today and my vision for the future too. It’s my childhood, my adolescence, my first job, my first crush, my ambitions, my successes and my failures all combined to determine where I stand, how I raise my head and the language I use to describe it. How could I possibly, with all that history, see it as somebody else?
We need to accept that everyone has a slightly different view of almost everything and focus on the things we can influence and act upon which is OUR time with our family and our role-modelling of family life. Beyond that, the lesson for us is to let go of the things we can’t influence and accept that whatever will be, will be. When we can do that (really, truly do that) we’ll all be a lot better for it. I will openly admit… I am not quite there yet… but one day soon I really hope to be.