What is a perfect family? The image (and generation) I was raised in was the “Leave it to Beaver” family. Dad, as the head of the household, goes to work to support the family. Mom, stays at home taking care of the children, cooks the meals and cleans the house. The children, are meant to be well behaved, clean, tidy and quiet. This is what we watched and mimicked when I was growing up (yes aging me). The family I grew up in had a slight twist to this image. The stereotypes were pretty well the same with the addition of mom working outside of the home. She was superwoman, doing everything seemingly tirelessly and perfectly. This is all I knew, and all that I witnessed in friend’s houses.
The future I saw for myself was a mirror of how I grew up. I tried it out, and it wasn’t a fit. I didn’t feel authentically me. I could not settle for a life I did not feel I was a part of. I was participating in the life I had created, but it felt like I was watching from the outside. I wanted to be present and in full involvement. This is my life, and I want to be a part of it.
Fast forward through the rough and tough stuff. As you can imagine, growth takes a conscious effort and acceptance of difficult moments. Going through this I was pushed out of my comfort zone and managed to navigate through to find the path I wanted to take. I have found the family around me is very different from the one in which I was raised. We are defined as a blended family by modern terms. I feel labels are limiting and would rather call us by our self-proclaimed handle the “Stjlie Squad”. This blog is about our family, who I will be referring to in this article as our squad.
We are close in connection even when not physically near. Although some members do not reside with us our love and care for them does not change. We were recently blessed with time all together in our home. Spending a weekend with our squad was wonderful. I see us as a unified force, a team, a pod, a storm and sometimes a party. We have had our ups and downs, frightening, emotional and laugh until you cry moments. These snippets of our lives contribute to our strong bond. They make us a family.
“I may not have many friends but I have my family.”
One of our daughters wrote this prior to the weekend we spent together. It sums up how we feel towards each other. We may look unconventional to outside observers, but the feelings we have for one another run deep.
“Blended families: woven together by choice, strengthened together by love, tested by everything and each uniquely ours.”
When we talk about our squad we get mixed reactions. Many women in one home can look from the outside as something frightening and is likely deemed an emotional vortex. In actual fact it is lovely. We have harmony and balance despite the overload of estrogen. Our struggles are supported and our achievements celebrated. Each of us bring a different strength that adds branch to the canopy of our tree.
Many families, no matter how they come to be, are united and wonderful. Growing together, supporting each individual for who they are and loving one another is all you need. Respect, understanding and love unite a group of people. I want to thank my squad, and all who support us, for being the people they are. I love you.