Many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Do you? This coming year, I resolve to stop picking fights with Chris. It’s usually about little things, and almost always when I’m exhausted (Hello, mom of a toddler!). But still. Sometimes it’s not nice. So, there you have it. I’m going to do my best to be more mindful before I react.
That’s not to say that Chris and I haven’t gotten into it over BIG things. Like how to co-parent. So, when you’re arguing about a big issue, how do you resolve it?
I’m honored to feature one of my favorite blended family bloggers: Crystal, who’s talking about exactly this. Crystal calls herself Ewokmama because she grew up in the 80s and adores the ewoks from Star Wars. Two years into her remarriage to David (pictured below), she found out that her son Jack, who was five at the time, had leukemia. “Cancer completely changed our lives in every way.”
Crystal met David when Jack was two.
“Things kept lining up for us. We worked a few blocks from each other, so it was easy to meet up for lunch. He let me set the pace for everything. I had gotten so used to working incredibly hard to keep my marriage together, I had no idea that a relationship could just flow. We were so grateful to have found one another that we treasured any spare moment we could get.”
That’s not to say that Crystal and David haven’t had their challenges.
“I had to work hard to undo a lot of the damage my rocky marriage had caused… My ex was a challenge, as well, and I learned how set my boundaries with him, something I hadn’t done in the past. I made sure to let my ex know that he was always going to be Jack’s dad and no one could take his place, and I think that helped. When he started dating someone else, that was an even bigger help!”
Most recently, she and David hit another roadblock.
“David and I are trying to conceive, and we’re both anxious about how things will change with another child. David is worried about shortchanging Jack when he becomes a biological father, but he’s also concerned that sometimes I coddle Jack, who has a lot of fears about being alone. For example, Jack wants me to be near him when he uses the bathroom or goes into his bedroom to play. David wants to encourage Jack to be more independent, but I worry about pushing him too hard.”
Crystal said that she turned to a professional to talk, and also found some helpful books.
“I’ve concluded that Jack’s fears are related to his illness — he’s two years into fighting leukemia and hasn’t been able to go to school regularly — and we need to be more relaxed. I hadn’t explained any of that to David, however, and that resulted in some tense conversations. When we eventually sat down to talk, we had to put our emotions aside and work together to understand why we weren’t in agreement.”
Thank you, Crystal, for your openness! I can’t end this post without giving a shout-out to the amazing Jack. When you get the chance, check out Crystal’s blog about Jack, a boy who doesn’t like guns and prefers for his clothes to match. A few choice things Jack has been overheard saying:
I feel like chicken filled with whipped cream instead of muscles.
You know why I’m like this – it’s because of the droids! (After he’d wrapped up a week of steROIDS.)
Maybe in the future, in 20 years, we can learn to make magic happen.
If you’re part of a blended family and you’d like to be featured here, I’d love to hear from you.
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