Sunday, November 13, 2016

We are a non-traditional "blended family"

{guest piece for www.laitdelavie.com}

[blend·ed fam·i·ly]
noun
NORTH AMERICAN
  1. a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships

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Traditionally, blended families consist of his, hers, and ours. We are a non-traditional blended family. As time goes on - we are becoming the norm - however - it is a mouthful to explain to those who ask about our dynamic. Especially - now that Jaxin has started Kindergarten. I've drawn a "non-traditional" family tree. The kids are listed first - because they are the priority and who really matter in this world of ours. 



Now the fun part - the explanation.

Jaxin was the first born out of this wild group. He was born in 2011 - to Devin & Jayce. Jayce is my little brother. A high school romance created this handsome little man - who has brought so much love and light into our home and heart. Oliver came next -- my son - with my husband (then boyfriend) Andrew. Oliver was born sleeping in 2012. It was a few month after his passing that we agreed to bring Jaxin into our home. Olive was next - born in 2014 - our first rainbow. Next are Opal & Knox - born a day apart in 2016. Knox is Jaxin's little brother - son to Jayce and his wife Megan. - Still with me? Clearly -- explaining this to teacher's require a book report -- as Jaxin's teacher just figured out I am not his mom. That was fun.

I am Jaxin's Godmother -- and he calls me Nina. Or Mommy. Olive likes to change them out as well - today - I've been Nina. This journey has been interesting - and not without drama - but never without love. The more love - the more the passion - and we are all still learning. 

Jaxin knows that Devin is his Mommy and Jayce is his Daddy - and that will never change. He knows that Nina and Tio (Andrew) love him just as much. Jaxin came to us at a time where we both needed eac hother. I am so thankful that Devin and my brother named me his Godmother and have trusted me to take care of him. Jaxin was there to help me heal and he is still doing that. Children are such beautiful gifts from God - and the love they bring is so pure. 

Olive doesn't know life without Jaxin. While we have said they are cousins - they refer to each other as brother and sister. And that's okay. All of us know how much they love each other - and how they need each other. Their bond is so beautiful and chaotic. Today - more chaotic - but that's for another post. 

Families are dysfunctional enough without this crazy dynamic. But here we are, nearing the end of 2016 - and finally settling down. While it appears on paper - that this family tree is all over the place -- the one thing that remains the foundation is love. Me, Andrew, Devin, Jayce, & Megan - all know that Jaxin, Oliver, Olive, Opal and Knox - are the most important in all of this. It has taken some time to get to this point, or getting to this point. The point  is actually always changing. As for my house - we are done adding children to our family. That doesn't mean the tree has stopped. Jaxin will [God willing] have more brothers and/or sisters from either his mother or father. Which will warrant a new point to journey to as one big family. 

To those in Blended Families -- my advice -- don't shy away from explaining it. Don't make it seem awkward or taboo. Every family has their own story - their own journey. I never want these kids to feel like they are in some weird family. I want them all to know that really - what these means is - there is that much more love to give - that much more love to receive. That is what the goal is - and that's what it should always be. Sure, there are books you can get and read - which are great. Making it a part of your daily normal routine - to not have anyone feeling "left out" or feeling like an "outsider"  is what is important. My family's testament to this is in our family picture - which includes Olive - holding Oliver (his urn), Opal and Jaxin. 

This is my "blended" family - and I wouldn't want it any other way.