We are a family with a history, some wonderful and some not so wonderful. We are a stepfamily trying to become a real family. Sometimes I can identify with Pinocchio wanting to be a real live boy, because I want – we want, to be a real live family.
Sometimes we do seem like a real live family, and other times we divide right down the bloodline; his children on one end of the dining room table and mine on the other.
I try to reconcile what divides us as a stepfamily. I try to blur the line of blood that divides us into two; I work daily at mending the seams where the two family became one.
Reminding them with pieces of our history throughout the house, a patchwork of pictures bordered in silver and gold sewn together, reminding us of where we have been, and of tender moments together. Corner of our face lift, and, just for a moment’s glance, we travel back in time to that place; the crazy moments of stepfamily seem to fade away.
Memories remind us from where we have come, and they remind us to whom we belong – we belong to each other. We may fuss and argue in the home but no one else had better cross us; we may be stepfamily but we are thick as thieves at times.
We decorate our home with our pictures and art made by family. We decorate with our history, our pictures – a visual story of our lives. To purchase art from others seems to tarnish this place of safety and love.
There are pictures all through the house, on every shelf, and covering the refrigerator, showing the progression of different hairstyles, new teeth, before and after braces school pictures, and the pictures of the children we sponsor in countries far away. There are pictures of cousins from the previous spouse with our children and there are pictures of birth parents with their children, and one or two pictures of birth parents together before the divorce.
To the children, these are the greatest treasures in our home. It gives them a sense of belonging, of being loved and accepted. Holidays are difficult on stepfamilies, but seeing your history and that of your parents, siblings and steps surrounding you, can give all of us the secure feeling of being home.
What do you do to develop the feeling of unity and family at your house?
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Nobody knows step-parenting strategies better than you do, Di. Photos are so important! We make it a point to relieve old memories together, especially the ones that poke fun at mom. Which are plentiful 😉