It is with incredible admiration that I share the words of my Uncle, Marcel Duclos,
Clinical Director at Northland Family Help Center.
By: Marcel Duclos
Some time ago, you (Nicole) invited me to add to your blog on the topic of Blended Families. Early on in my second marriage, after ten years as a single father who parented mostly from afar and only occasionally to a few of my children, my life under one roof consisted of my wife and I and two elementary school age children up until their graduation from high school. On two separate occasions, two young adult step-daughters did a stint with us in the hospitable farm house. Once, we had grandchildren filling the old house and the acreage with their spirit and sounds. When everyone went away on their individual journeys and left the eight rooms to the two dogs and the four cats to tend to mother/grandmother and pépère, this step-father felt the accumulated loss of his own children weighing heavier than before. Thus is the undercurrent of blended families: loss and grief, unending grief and loss.
Perhaps less so but it will not without wounding, however unintended. And dangers lurk everywhere.
Some emerge out of the daily ground upon which all the new members of the yet unstructured family negotiate the most ordinary ups and downs together and alongside of each other. I still now, more than a decade later, taste the anguish that fouled my mouth when I failed to known how to reach out in the moment with the affection needed by the step-children. Those were the moments when I acutely felt my failure also as a father, unable and unavailable to reach out to my children of the same age because of distance, separation and the throes of crushing irreconcilable differences.
Similarly heartbreaking, and so commonly shared by many parents/partners in the blended family, is the conflicting ambivalence of loyalties. If I love one child with all my heart and show it, am I disloyal to the others? This is a challenging balance in any family. Do you love her/him more than me? No, I love you all with all that I am and with all my heart; but I do show it differently because you are unique. This question finds such an answer more believable in the first family. In the blended family, the seeds of doubt are blowing all around, and the proof is subject to the naturally changing winds of human relationships.