“That’s weird…” It was a response I had gotten from a grown woman. It was a response my husband got from a grown man. The fact that me, my husband, our unborn daughter, my bonus son, his mom, her husband, and their son were all embarking on a new journey across the country together was “weird.” The fact that we had all decided together as one family to continue making the best life for the 9-year-old boy in the middle of our co-parenting situation was “weird.”
I started to think about it, and my husband and I had a few conversations about it. Why is it weird that we all get along? Why is it weird that we can act like adults and put our son’s needs first? Wouldn’t it be weirder if one side of his family decided to move while the other stayed? Wouldn’t it be weirder to have him fly across the country multiple times a year to see the other side of his family? Wouldn’t it be weirder for one of his parents to decide, “Yeah, I’m okay with not seeing you every day”?
I will say, we have a very unique situation. It started well before my now husband and I started dating. It started when he and his ex-wife decided that they were no longer a good match for each other, but their son was going to be their number one priority. I give them both a lot of credit for where we’re all at now. And, I can tell you all without a doubt in my mind, it’s better this way. Not only for our son but selfishly for all four parents.
It makes everything easier when everyone gets along. It makes pickups, drop-offs, soccer games, school events, birthdays, and holidays all easier. But I think most importantly, it doesn’t put the little boy who had nothing to do with his parents splitting when he was young in the middle of any awkward situations. He is NOT the middle man.
I’ve seen the alternative. The child is used against the other parent, and it breaks my heart. Not only does that do no good in the healing and mending of the broken relationship, but I can’t imagine the psychological damage that must do to the child in the middle. I’m not a psychologist, but my common sense says it can’t be good.
What I am, though, is a realist. I know not every divorce ends amicably. I know not every “stepmom,” or bonus mom as I prefer, respects her boundaries. And, I know not every “stepdad,” or bonus dad, respects his boundaries. And I know every situation is different.
I am by no means a blended family expert. However, I think we’re doing a kickass job. When we decided to move across the country from Jacksonville to Denver, it was all or none. Either we were all going or none of us were going. We were keeping the family together, all six — soon to be seven — of us.
We’re expecting a baby girl in October. I could not be more excited to bring her into this family. Knowing she not only has her immediate family but her “extended” family in my bonus son’s mom, bonus dad, and brother just warms my heart.
The picture you see is from our “we-all-made-it-safely-to-Colorado” celebratory dinner at my husband’s and my house. People asked when we were moving if we had family here. Well, you’re looking at them.