Friday, May 25, 2012

Stepping into the stepfamily issue: the beginning's challenges

It’s time. This is a hard topic I’ve been holding for a long time, even though I had lot to say. After a few years in the process, I finally have the courage and peace from a lot of reading, praying and living, to simply look back around and calmly and objectively talk about the matter, and I’m confident enough in my marriage as to freely address it.
No stepfamily pattern is the same, nor are the same the issues they face. Each family has its own fingerprint, each step family too. The combination may open the window to a different set of characteristics, and challenges or experiences thereof : Both spouses with children from previous relationships, One parent with children, One having full custody, both having full custody, or just one with children but with just with visitation rights… you name it… What is common to all possible situations is the hard work it takes to keep a healthy relationship and a successful marriage under the skies of a step family. These difficulties may increase when the previous relationship or causes of divorce involved painful or extremely negative factors. I have to say I know a divorced couple who keep sharing all holidays together and travel together, and plan together, or taking family or personal decisions toguether; that is yes, the four of them plus children (all adults), and they look so unreal… but they successfully made it I guess, even though I found it rare. But that’s not the average result.
During the past 6 years I’ve been analyzing and rationalizing this issue, and it has to be said… learning how to get through it with the best approach. I’ve developed some conclusions which I think may be applicable to all stepfamilies; however, I know most of them would make sense only in a pattern like mine: I was single, no kids, plenty of expectations about forming my own family; my husband was in the post-divorce crisis, coming from a very bad experience in life, having two older boys and a baby girl who’s paternity to everyone else but my husband was questioning due to the non-sense circumstances under which technically she came to existence (that is not itself a core issue but it exemplifies the turmoil around). He got visitation rights, even though it took a lot of time for him to rationalize that divorce does naturally involve inevitable changes, and it took longer to start conceiving the reality that his children were no longer living under his roof, but they will visit every other week… yes, that’s what they call it visitation rights. Something unquestionable: his deep love for them and rooted sense of responsibility, and my articulated and deep values as to how a family and a house should be run, plus the biggest illusion to start my own family (which surprisingly, turned out being a tricky and a bit dangerous chemical formula).
My first conclusion after these years was that the worst approach ever when entering into a relationship involving stepchildren (from either side) is to assume that everything would work itself out, and to overlook the potential differences and the different needs, as well as taking for a fact that affection and candid interaction should be taken as given… provided that everyone involved, is a good person; that the “step” parent is in the obligation to silently accept whatever the “parent” decides, does or brings on the matter; and ultimately, that the children would learn and know how to approach the “second” marriage situation by themselves as well as to how to react or interact with the second spouse. Even more dangerous is to assume – in the case of the parent spouse- the role of victim, redirecting any difficulty in the relationship to the children issue as a way to evade responsibilities, problems and solutions. Finally, I consider pure poison to ignore that the new non-parent spouse may have deep ideas and values in terms of raising a family, and ignore them when conflicting with the former “way to parent”, or the former regular course of the family business. I would also say it is a wrongful pattern to enter in a relationship expecting that love and closeness will come automatically, and all personalities will happily “click”. In short, for the parent spouse, it’s important to get real, accept what is gone, take the great, burry the past and actually see the present, realizing that a new family and a new spouse is waiting at home, not the shadows of the previous one. For the non-parent spouse, I guess it is important to be confident enough as to not fear to address the issue and try to water healthy discussions on the matter, since silence is even more dangerous. I do know it is easier to say it than to get it done.
There’s no room for fairy tales. Human relations are complex, difference among views, perspectives and personalities fill human society of complexities, making it hard to explore sometimes, rewarding on others. If there are difficulties within a blood related family, what would make you think it should be different when blending non related individuals with completely different backgrounds? If marriage itself takes effort from both spouses, shouldn’t marriage with stepchildren require an extra dose? If every day we find difficulties at work, in business, in social life, at school, etc… what would make you expect absence of conflict or differences in a family context? On the other hand, the existence of difficulties and trouble does not make it a lost cause. I do believe a reality check has to take place, instead of taking sides and sit…Both parties in the second marriage pattern should be aware about the difficulty, and equal effort is demanded in such a relationship; always I would say, but especially when it becomes clear that different backgrounds, different formation and different cultural manifestations will be placed under the same roof, because it would be a puzzle of tolerance, respect, and proper place for each one.
Awareness would be my favorite concept after all these years. Awareness about the fact that no one is perfect, about the complexity of human interaction, about conflicting values and ideas, about healthy expectations, about personal characteristics that may water conflict, and why not, awareness about personal preferences and way of living; but most of all, awareness about the difference between past, present and future, awareness about what is gone and what is on the table, look to the horizon, not to the aches of the past. Frustration will be only result when expecting too much, or expecting results too soon…and frustration is a dangerous advisor… since it only calls for weakness.
Balance, would be my favorite value, and core when praying. There’s nothing more hurtful than someone repeating over and over in one’s face that because of the nature of the parental love, everything else would be secondary and accessory, leaving this underlying unnecessary taste of being secondary and accessory. As a matter of common sense, we all –parents and non-parents- have clear the special and unique bond a parent-child relationship creates, and the responsibilities involved. Once one becomes a parent, the concept becomes materialized. But since the nature of a parent-child relationship differs from that of marriage, and from many others, there’s no point in an insisting obsession to set hierarchies of importance, privileges and levels of love, that’s unnecessary and unhealthy. No word should be pronounced in that sense. You do not make your loved one feel as if in a line waiting to be called upon for affection, so words and actions need not to be sharply administered in that sense, it creates the wrong idea you’re offering leftovers of affection and resources. The hardest task in the second marriage, for the parent spouse, is to balance both well beings (his/her kids on one side and his/her new family on the other). My respect and compliments to those who have succeeded on the task. This issue becomes particularly critical at the arrival of a common child, and is also the test to measure if past and previous marriage ghost have actually been overcame. Waiting for balance would also be the hardest challenge to the other spouse, since it will put to test the core of love and patience, but would also demand to know when limits should be established.
Objectivity was next in line to my understandings. The natural protective instinct in a parent may lead to a dangerous partial behavior that may attempt to destroy the counterpart’s right to express opinions, to exercise authority in home management issues, and to unconsciously annul the presence and expectations of the non-parent spouse. An act of terrorism against a second marriage under these circumstances would be to ignore the right of the non- parent spouse to experience marriage and parenting by his/her own, and not under the shadows of the parent spouse previous experience.
Love, patience, perseverance, trust and commitment, I concluded to be the only tools one has to make it work. But most of all, conviction about the love among each other, about the marriage institution itself and the decision made towards that way.
Months ago, I was reading James Dobson and a couple of lines called my attention. He accurately described the natural dynamic of the parent spouse taking side and defending his/her children against the non-parent spouse, creating confrontation in cases of second marriages. I felt sad while reading a sentence with taste of final judgment stating that because of such natural and inevitable dynamic normally these second marriages (with the presence of children from a previous one) do not end well. I could not believe that someone who was supposed to give advice and support to make the family bond stronger, a family advocate himself, was throwing such a negative assumption of future failure, making it appear as hopeless. Actually, he wasn’t. I kept reading. That was a dose of reality, followed by an unquestionable truth: it does not mean that second marriages with stepchildren involved are inevitably destined to fail, some turn successful; but for those who do turn successful, hard work, love and comprehension is required. There’s no place for weakness, no place for negativism, marriage is not a disposable plate; it is rather a treasure one must fight to defend when. When I finished that particular book, it was clear that failure should not be a default rule; if one wants a marriage under these circumstances to work, it will, as long as one is committed to that goal. Personally I will endorse God the guidance on the matter, but I will respect those who do not share my faith. Of course, a marriage is always a matter of two. If that mutual commitment and mutual love is present, all obstacles and difficulties will be overcome, and the institution of marriage would be strengthened.
I asked myself a while ago if I was where I wanted to be. The answer was yes, surprisingly you may think. I do know my husband is not perfect, nor am I; and I do know, now more than ever, that there will be a lot of challenges. I am ready to confront them as they may appear...rationally. I’ve been doing that, and learning in the process. I became stronger, and I’m not afraid of use my voice anymore, because I will fight for my marriage and the family and values I want my son to grow up with. Now that I am a mother, each time I see my son looking at my husband and vice-verse, I renew my strength; each time my husband makes me smile only by being who he is, just when laugher seems to hide from me, a warm feeling makes my heart recognize that he is part of my beating heart. Each day I see improvement. Of course I’m more realistic about the time it may take, I’m afraid my husband’s expectations got unrealistic at the beginning.
I’ve browsed a lot of forums about step families. Fortunately, I found that my thoughts, concerns and experiences were the same as those of many people. Some of them found the way to make it work, some just survived it, and some could not make it. It is not a recent discovery the hard work it requires, but one finds hope in those who succeeded, learn from those who did not, or simply find support to keep working on it when the love and commitment does exist. I also develop consideration for those stepchildren who had a bad experience growing in step family contexts.
Today, I will only write about the beginning, the actual formation of a stepfamily and the consequences of our initial approaches. I’ll just share my experience. I’m planning to dedicate some time to discuss different issues. As of now, I’m making a retrospective analysis of our first steps and their consequences.
In 2006, life brought to my life a great human been, tough on the surface, but with a heart so big, that a lot of people have been tearing off of him, taking advantage of him and placing heaviness on his back… so he hides in toughness. He was divorcing and had kids, something I was not crazy about – but let’s become clear, who would have?-but he earned an opportunity, and deserved a second chance in life. He definitively deserves goodness in his life, for all the good he has been giving, and the hardship everyone has found easy to put on his shoulders, from his ex to his relatives, from “friends” to people around, from the consequence of bad decisions, to a simply unfair outcome in life. He became my husband, and my son’s father, and I love him. Together, we began a new life that is not until recently that began to say good bye to the clouds of his yesterday. He’s now doing something his heart could not do before: to see truths and realities as they have always been and as he couldn’t see before.
We are sometimes black and white, day and night, yet that makes us a great couple. Our differences and diversity enrich our criteria and views, our strengths help out each other’s weaknesses. Yes, we are team, in the full extension of the applicable concept. We’ve never had discussion or fight between each other because of each other, despite our different views, NEVER. Perhaps because we do share core ideals, and he gives me the laugher I need, and I give him the analysis he’s missing. He helps me to build and I help him to find his north…We both cried at the altar full of emotions, we deeply love each other. But nothing is perfect, meaning you always have something to improve, something to solve, and something to build.
As of today, the only issue that brings silence and requires a deep breath between us is the reminder of his past life: his kids and our different views on certain issues involved. Nothing is easy I know. I’ve been through a lot, so has he; yet I’ve tried to educate myself on the matter. A lot has happened during these 6 years, a lot of things have changed. Now that I set my priorities, my hopes and fears transformed themselves. Motherhood brought a new set of concerns and made me overlook others, but also enhanced my views and analysis. I guess I’m not the same, nor my expectations or goals… they became enhanced.
Was he fully aware and conscious about the implications of divorce, and what does it meant to start over in a second marriage? No. For a long time, I would say he was not conscious about the material and definitive changes divorce involved. Was he aware about the emotional demands a new family would represent? Probably not, he was focused on ignoring the demands of change and consumed by the past (it has taken a long time to accept the natural price of moving on, you cannot have it all as if nothing happened, you cannot live two realities at the same time, you must accept what is gone, you cannot act as if nothing happened on certain issues which are to be dramatically transformed by the big things that actually happened). Did he have the best intentions? Yes. Did I know it would be hard? Yes. Was I fully aware about the specific challenges this step family would bring? No. Did I foresee the way my husband would handle it? Probably not, I thought he would act according to the rationale and values he presented to me, which did not happened. But here we are, we are loving to each other, and enjoying the blessings our son brought to our lives.
I think my experience can be illustrative to someone else, I hope I can learn from other’s processes. I would never leave behind an objective critic or an objective advice.
New step families have a hard and long road to walk. And by new, I concur with some authors who sustain that this adjusting period averages close to 7 years. Don’t get confuse and don’t think I’m almost done because I have around 5+ on the road. That is not so, and perhaps, one of our most hurtful missteps. But no one is to be blamed, he was struggling with guilt, anger, and a deep love for his kids, which blurred his perspective and annulled his objectivity. I grew up and lived with NO kids around, thus, I knew how to interact with kids the same way I may know about quantic physics, and I hated the fact everyone was looking at me as the weird, and everyone was expecting from me back then a maternal side or a kindergarten teacher ability to interact with kids (which there was no way to find or make it appear magically). I wrongfully fed anger, instead of explaining myself and asking for patience.
Even today, I reject the common view of placing all the burden of effort in the non-parent spouse, and if I hear once more the words “package” and “you don’t like them”, I will get extremely nauseous or even a step further. Yes, I assumed the responsibility of taking efforts to overcome the difficulties of these circumstances. Yes, I always knew his kids were a huge part of his life. No, by expressing opinion or concerns and by defending the wellbeing of my family I’m not making open statements of rejection or negative feelings towards them, something that apparently has been hard to understand.
But the truth is we are just beginning. Years have passed, but we are only taking the first steps. Maybe because it was not until now that my husband is healing from the wounds of the past and guilt, maybe because now I’m not afraid to talk.
As unbelievable as it may sound, four years into a relationship and one after married, one of his teenage kids did not have clear the fact that his dad had actually remarried, and what that represented, as it came up in a therapy session he had, and as my husband will negate until today. Two years after living together he held I was a friend that used to visit (because I would stay at my former apartment the weekends he had them, and would not hear from him until Monday, when he would come during the period he was living at my place, or give me a “green light” to go to our home when he bought a new house). For a bit more than two years of being together, when attending together family venues he would stay far from me, socializing with others, expecting me to do the same where I knew no one. He would avoid being seen stretching his hand to me or close to me, he didn’t want his kids to be aware that he had moved on from his past life (or people who knew his ex-wife). I’m not sure if he ever realized that. He even got mad once because I showed up at our house without notice while he was throwing a party during a weekend (I did not know about it), I went there at the usual time but he didn’t answer to open the door when I called, he didn’t want us to be public when his kids or people who knew his ex-wife were around. Should I blame him for the feeling of not being given my place by his side in the house which I have experienced for years? I did. Not anymore. I know it was not right, but he did it expecting not to hurt them, evidence of the love I know my son is receiving from his father. I sustained the theory he was actually unconsciously competing with his ex, who right away was living with someone who was already around, whether he likes to recognize it or not. By claiming he didn’t want to do what she was doing, I think he was not actually rationalizing what was right or wrong, but only had a desperate need to show off to the kids a difference that I believe would not have made such a difference as he thought under the given circumstances.
I truly believe kids need time to digest divorce and their parents reconstructing their lives. Those are dramatic changes which can affect them. As adults, divorced parents face the hard task to walk them through those changes. However, responsible adults make an effort to balance things, since there’s not fairness in hurting or leaving behind the soul of the person who’s now walking by their side.
Past is past. I had to put behind my criticism. I can speak with the impartiality that not being related to them gives me, yet I’m not ashamed to accept that I will look for my wellbeing, I have the right to do so, something I was denied for a long time, that does not make me bias by default. I cannot expect –knowing him- to understand it. So I gave up that part. The naked truth is he was hiding our reality from them, and we were living in a fictitious rootless relationship for a while, because that would delay any step in furtherance of a healthy consolidation. If we could not handle that, God and His time did it for us. Only time was required to overcome that stage and move on. I grew up from it, and developed something I never had: patience (which is good since I’m using a lot of it raising my over energetic son). Something in my heart was telling me I had to be patient, I so did. I’m happy I did. My challenge now is to forget, since he seems to remember nothing of this… good for him I guess.
Now that I think about it, I do believe that in an ideal world, in a healthy step family beginning, kids should be kindly and lovingly told about the roles and authorities involved, about the respect it would be due, and obedience perhaps (which the step parent has to work to be kept). They should be listened, they have the right to show concerns, but fear to their reactions should not impair judgment and life decisions. That way one in my position would be harassed by the feeling of being merely the cleaning lady, the friend who visits or the “guest”, instead of the head of household’s present wife. I don’t find it fair to live in a house as a wife and a mother and not being able to feel that it is your house, that you can set rules in your house or being seen as someone with no right to own or say on any matter in the eyes of the stepchildren. He though they would learn, digest and overcome his second marriage on their own. He also, indirectly perhaps, thought it was my obligation to push myself to quickly develop affection, that if no respect was shown was because I had not earned it and that I should not expect them to give me any place and follow any guidelines I want for my house. He unconsciously thought I was the only one who should bear the burden of change, based on my acceptance of “his package”, victimizing “his package”. In short, I should see, accept and say nothing (kind of don’t like it, door open…a pessimistic way to see a new beginning). At least, that’s what his actions and words showed even though I will give him the benefit of the doubt as it may not have been what he intended or wanted. He may have thought there was no need to walk this change with them, and teach them about it, and explain it to them… He may have felt guilty of moving forward and finding a better way to live and a better position in life…he addressed the issue when the kids actually confronted him with questions… his kids then opened the door he should have opened for them years ago. But he did not cross that door; he just left it as it was… and now there’s no point in retaking that issue. But I know my husband very well, as to know he didn’t want to hurt me, and his intentions were the best.
I believe he should have addressed the issue before, and clearly talk to them and guide them, giving me the place I should have. That is true as true is the hardship kids from divorced families must bear. As if watching their parents to split would not be hard enough, my husband’s kids had to see happiness for once in their dad’s face… by being far from the family they knew, by being far from life the way they knew. But I did not deserve the darkness and roughness and aggressive reactions I had to deal with, especially because I always acted in good faith and thinking on the best for all involved, yes even his kids.
I do not believe kids digest and learn on their own in these matters. I don’t believe they “pick” by their own what’s going on and automatically know how to deal with it. I do believe, no matter how smart a kid might be, they need to be guided, instructed, and walked on the matter. I don’t care how intelligent a kid may be, one thing is to know the facts before him, and a different one is to have a comprehensive understanding with an adult like rationalization. We could not expect kids to aboard this topic with the same rationale and deep comprehension an adult may have to.
I made a lot of mistakes by my own too. He tried to keep his entire story away from me, as well as everything from his past. So, I did not ask. I knew about his kids what he told me (what he wanted me to see, or what he was rightfully or wrongfully seeing). I did not deeply observe them when they were around because I was afraid I may find something I would share or say to him that he may not like, and he would explode again, since he was outrageously defensive towards them. So I never knew what was on their backpacks (sort of speak), he of course would never say anything but how great they were and how he had raised them (I found out later that what he said or thought he had done contradicted what had been going on). So I made myself purposely blind. Since they were his kids, I thought I had to shut down my way of thinking, my observations and my analysis, I thought I had no right to even think there could be something I may disagree with, since that would hurt him. I thought I should be completely neutral, and keep myself away from any source of judgment. I built my own Pandora ’s Box by negating my mind and self to be who I am. I should have inquired, so I could be better prepared. By acting that way, I also numbed my feelings, and my heart got closed towards them, since I was frightened any feeling would have gone against me (if I got too involved, and play the mother role, he would find an excuse to avoid or delay talking about a child of our own –as he actually did-, if I found something I was not exactly excited about, it would have offended him…I felt as if against a big wall, I got to that point all by myself).
I was under a lot of pressure. Indirectly, and maybe without actually knowing it he was in a rush to see this unrealistic harmonious extended family he wished, that I became so overwhelmed with those expectations and consequently I blocked myself. The emotional heaviness of being compelled to instantly develop that “click” (which does not go with how I am and how I socially interact in general) was a huge pressure on my chest. Those circumstances had a negative effect rather than the positive ones he expected. I was constantly hearing about my "faults" and what I was not doing (but should) that I reached the point of feeling I was a horrible person; I almost convince myself I was the problem... that was not fair, nor was it true.
That’s why I would say we’ve been actually walking in the road of a new stepfamily only for the past two years, time where the waters found a relatively calm pattern, with the additional circumstance of my pregnancy, and later on, the arrival of my living blessing who also diluted a big part of the contentions on the matter and brought us deeply close, not without mentioning that my husband slowly but consistently began to leave the past behind and have a much better approach towards us and our future. God has been taking care of us, and with the blessing of my son, my husband began to see what he could not see before, began listening without evading, he began talking about his kids when I have something to say without those rage explosions I had to take whenever the subject matter was in my mouth. I think his inner self, while looking at my devotion to my son and the way he is being raised, is slowly beginning to be aware of the differences, and by watching the results, and my goals, he’s finally understanding and accepting hard truths. I can assure he would not tell me today, as he told me two years ago, that perhaps I should not be asking for a child of my own because maybe I was not prepared to be a mother. Instead, I treasure his recent words: “I think you’re the best mother I’ve known”, because I know he was hurt because of what it represented.
From this beginning I learned something else. Information regarding the previous marriage and stepchildren should flow from your spouse, and one must create that trust as to make him/her comfortable to talk about it. He thought the best was to keep me away from anything related to them and his past; a kind of a clean slate theory, or a blank space that should be kept that way. I thought it was OK so I didn’t bother to ask him…with collateral consequences.
Six years ago I made a huge mistake. I volunteered my ear to my in laws and their one sided stories full of anger, revenge, morbid views, imprudence, and excessive detail. I let them put me in fear, I allow them to create a huge wall in my heart towards his past, and get myself armed and defensive. Six years ago every time my husband’s cell phone rang at my apartment and later on at our house, my neck would get a contracture and my blood pressure would give me the most awful headaches… I was placed in fear, I had no peace, and it even affected my physical health. I feared as a child fears the night ghosts that such a phone call would end and our lives turned upside down with him taking custody of all the kids and no chance of a “regular” life as a “new marriage” or “new family for us”. Why? There were awful stories out there trying to get the impulsive nerve my husband had back then. Those two sides of the family got involved in an unhealthy war trying to demonstrate who loved them more. Using love as a weapon ( I had never seen that before), my husband’s side irresponsibly tried to confuse issues, and misleading ways of living and affection or simple personality issues, were determined to accuse the mother of neglecting and abuse them, fueling the anger and irrational instincts my husband was experiencing. My in laws were anxiously craving as a child may crave a candy for a situation where my husband impulses would move him for a battle of custody (which they wrongfully thought a magical winning solution and final victory against the enemy), they made me live in fear and anger (because actually, my husband tried hard to keep me away from that conflict), seriously doubting about my husband’s saying, they made me at some point be close to lose all the respect I had for him, and think he was openly or unconsciously lying about his life and his actions and decisions and course of facts. I was close to thinking he was simply a big liar or someone without character or respect for himself, someone without common sense, or someone without clue of how to properly live his life. They did not have bad intensions, in fact, they didn’t know what they were doing or fueling; at least my parents in law were also hurt, by seeing his son going down and hurt, I guess they were thrived by having an end and see a light for him, that they just forgot of something named prudence. Curiously, they were the biggest fans of him entering in a relationship with me, and I do not they appreciate me, something I’m thankful for.
A relationship does not work that way. I was close to end everything and continue my road facing my own problems but free from ghosts I couldn’t even see or fight. He still laughs when I say we are together because of Faith. But it is true. And I was right. Everything began to take shape when I closed my ears and dealt by my own with the challenges in front of me, when I kept everything between the two of us, and put perspective and rationalism, instead of attention to half-truths. I assumed maybe he was blocking things, or not able to see things, I restored my trust in his judgment and character. We then began doing better, since I made all the effort to purge all the prejudice and misinformation my mind had been digesting. I urged myself to erase from my judgment anything but what my eyes, heart and mind would see, deduce or infer. I obliged myself to start it over, to respect that my husband may had taken wrong decisions, or may had been too naive or too proud, or simply overlooked things, or perhaps he wasn’t aware about the extension of his reality, so what, he did what he had to, just to survive and to be comfortable in his own skin. He may have contradicted with acts the principles he was defending, but so what, he was fighting for a future, and saw in me a partner to do it. I fight my own judgment, I got rid of all the armors he had on and look at his heart in a way not even him had seen.
I had to look deep through all his layers of guilt, toughness, defensiveness, worriedness, confusion, pain, and I found the noblest heart I’ve seen in a man. I fell in love again with him, far from voices, far from ghosts, under the shelter of a home that we both just began to build as a pair. I admire him, because he has been able to fight for a future, to improve himself, despite all the trash it has been thrown on his backyard. I also confirmed he is an intelligent man full of great plans and ready to give the ultimate effort for the sake of his family (which finally he’s realizing it’s us). He’s an honest man who tries to do his best and to be fair (even though sometimes his judgment may lead to imbalance and an opposite result… he’s not perfect, but I don’t want him to be so)
We are much better now. Better does not mean problem solved. But that does not put me down. It just made me stronger. Motherhood gave me a different perspective, and made me realize where my concerns should actually be placed on. My only and truly concern right now is simply that I would not allow my son to be raised in a roof with two different standards and two sets of authority; nor am I willing to accept under my roof examples, patterns or behaviors that I want to keep away from my son...period (and subject of a different dissertation).
No one said it would be easy, we just do our best. But in doing so, both of us need an objective way to analyze situations, and a commitment towards our goals in parenting regarding our son, respect, and keeping up with the elected rules.
It did not help the fact we began this relationship right in the aftermath of his divorce, when the wounds of a dark reality were still open, when negation was still the only way to deal with them, when fury instead of rational analysis was the only trigger to assertions and decisions. That one in general, could be held as a bad move. But it turned to work for us, and perhaps it was supposed to be like that. Why? Right next to me, with me, sometimes because of me, sometimes surprising me…buy always amazing me, he’s been walking the healing road. I’ve seen him overcoming darkness, I’ve seen him overcoming blindness, I’ve seen him improving himself over and over, I’ve been there by his hand, giving him my knees if he cannot walk, giving him a glass of water to swallow disappointments. I’ve witness his transformation, keeping him on track, getting him back to the road when a detour approaches. He’s finally healing. In the meanwhile, I became stronger, less impetuous, and definitively more patient and compassionate. Our son smoothed our characters, and gave us more compassion, which now we offer to each other. He made us see in each other the wonders difficulties had been hiding. He found a blessing in what he obnoxiously refused (to open his parental responsibilities to a 4th one), and even forgot the times when he tried to avoid the issue, I found and extra source of strength to keep patient and to water the seeds of success for this family, I had a change of skin too.
Thus, that makes the fingerprint of our family; we are growing a tropical garden in what once was a dessert or what could be dessert field material. There’s a cactus once in a while, but there’s a lot of flowered prairies as to sit close to or around it. We both are improving ourselves and working hard for our family, by the hand of a blessing smile who reminds us each day about the love we have for each other. There’s a long road ahead, but we have each other, we have our son, and our son has us. There’s a long road ahead, and I’m happy to walk it with my husband, there’s a big tomorrow ahead, and I’m happy we are working on it as a gift to our son.

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