Monday, February 20, 2012

Jonny's dry rot fixing :)

"where do i dig now??" following orders :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

" Peeling back the layers "

soon to be, big boy's TV room/ my office
soon to be, big boy's TV room/ my office
soon to be, big boy's TV room/ my office

Most folks know, that when you live in an old home, and renovations ensue, many surprises are found.

Once some layers of your ancient abode are removed, the facade it puts on of being a, "sound and sturdy home", quickly crumbles. It crumbles into the abyss of "known facts", facts of life never to be "known" again. Facts such as...."the foundation is fine!", "I will never get divorced!", "my child would never behave like that!",  "it stood for one hundred years already, it will stand for one hundred more!" etc. etc. etc.

To my bliss, a few days ago, Tall Dark and Handsome (my husband), mentioned he would love to get started on reno-ing the room just off our kitchen. This room will serve as an office /TV room, for myself and my two bio sons, Joshua 12, and Bailey 11. Of course as the renovations began, with the end goal insight, unexpected things were revealed.

I suppose dry rot shouldn't be that unexpected in a 100 year old building. However, when you push into new projects, or new beginnings, you can only speculate on what might be found, what might be needed, in order to reach your goal.

Realistically processing, how two families can become more and more "one", has layers that peel back to reveal many unexpected things as well. Grieving children, Different expectations of family life, unmet dreams, hurts from the brokeness that come with divorce, all hide under the facade. As I've come to experience though, this renovation of sorts, can be a profound gift, a "new beginning", "another chance", a blended Family.

Much like the reno-ing of the room off the kitchen, the dry rot TDH (Tall Dark and Handsome) found, as he peeled back the layers along the east side of our hotel, needed to be seen. TDH has had to remain flexible, and calm, as he replaces the rotten boards. Our house, and our family, serve us up many unexpected challenges.  

To some readers, if not all, it may sound strange, if not alarming and disharmonious to hear, that this new room will only be for 3, of the six of us. Even more shocking, may be the fact that there is another one of these "rooms" on the opposite side of our lower floor. That room serves as a TV room for TDH and his two bio sons, Jacob 9, and Jonah 7.

TDH's expectation of blended family was...Much like a microwave, throw it all in there together and cook it quick, were gunna make this work!

His deep reverence for family values, his sense of loss of a family unit for his boys, as well as his wisdom in seeing they needed it.....profoundly, enhanced his already fierce, and unrelenting championing, of family unity and family identity. TDH is a family man. My life would have so much less meaning without him.

My expectation of blended family was....Much like a slow cooker, we were "us three" befor "us six", we will share, and get to know each other as family, slowly, we will make room for differences, attachment takes time, we will learn to rely on each other as we grow.

My bent was towards respecting differences, operating with authenticity, implementing boundaries, honouring attachments, and personal responsibility.

As you can imagine, the microwave and the slow cooker can clash in many ways. Believe me there have been many nights, where we are sitting across from eachother, staring blankly, exhausted, after trying to figure out one, of a plethora, of family issues!  As well as more severe and frightening moments when one, or both of us, felt unsure of our ability to find common ground.

A strange sort of yin and yang has happened with our differences, as we were able to let each others different value driven expectation of family influence us.

My approach gave sanity to a house with "blending rivalry". It gave realism to the fact that we would not survive or flourish without space and understanding, of each other, and respect of that space.

little boys TV/ play room
TDH's approach let no gap form in that "space".  The growth of an un-unified "us" against "them" identity; which is very common in blended family dynamics, he combated with togetherness. He championed family traditions, and identity, along side my pragmatic "space" and "respect" teaching.....
                                                                                                                          little boys TV/ play room

The outcome is, three years in, we are, i think, living as a family of six.

little boys TV/ play room
We have Monday night appreciation at the dinner table, each family member says something they appreciate about another. Each child in the blend, in their own time, has asked for group activities "with all of us", meaning all six, in their words. We talk, fight, cook, and play together. In so many ways we are unified, we are one.

We are also the two parts that came together to make this "one".  We have a TV room for the little boys, and a TV room (after TDH gets through this dry rot ) for the big boys. TDH and I, spend time in either. We have Wednesdays were both sets of boys go for overnight visits to their Mom's, for Jake and Joe, and Dad's, for Joshua and Bailey.

 The separate space, along with having to ask to enter someones room (except the parents) has allowed the boys to feel that their previous family attachment, and ownership, isn't lost. It creates less competition, they can take breaks, and have space when they need it. It allows the boys to engage, and grow, in their "step sibling" bond as they want too, instead of because they have too every second. A bond which of course, no child has a part in choosing. They didn't choose divorce, or step parents, or step siblings.

Blended family can be a second chance. It is wrought with chaos and beauty. It can create deep and incomparable character.  It can be a family for children who's families have broken. What an unexpected gift.

In having no experience with divorce and remarriage, I had no idea the richness blended family could hold for us.

- C

Here goes ANOTHER try at blogging......

It been years since I have dawned the world of blogging to make my mark. Over the past few, life has taken many unexpected turns, and yet here I am still... happy, mostly healthy, and in awe of my life.

I thank who i call "God", for the goodness, and richness, Jonny and I experience in our life, however tumultuous our relationship is (mine and God's;)

Im convinced, in the midst of my "20's to 30's letting go stage" (of thinking I know anything about God, and spirituality), that unlearning is how God speaks to me.

Blended family has been one of those gifts, full and ripe with "unlearning" lessons. 

It seems this old home we live in mirrors the progress of our family unity and collective healing. Our seams are sometimes unraveled, and one, or all of us... experience times of pain. Im sure this old house groans and rejoice's with us as we fall apart, and then inevitably heal. If only the walls could talk. 

How far this brood of boys and I have come in 3 short years. 

- C

Sunday, October 7, 2007