Because of Love

because-of-love

A few years ago, during one of my out-of-state grand kids’ visits my younger granddaughter and her cousin, my in-state grandson, got into a disagreement. I don’t even know what the argument was about but my granddaughter, who was 5 at that time, announced that her cousin had never met her parents and never would. It was, in her mind, the ultimate “so there!” And that is how we had the discussion “Because of Love.”

My family is probably no stranger than many these days. Marriages, divorces, children born before marriage, stepchildren, and children who aren’t really step kids or biological kids are all over the place. Let me explain.

We have one daughter who has one child. We have two sons, one of whom has two biological children and two who are not related by blood. He got his first child, H, through marriage and, although he is now divorced from her mom, she is still his daughter. While they were still married my son and his (then) wife had baby girl, C, the antagonist in this tale. His ex-wife and he are still very close friends. He is now with a young woman who had a daughter, D prior to meeting my son so he became the father of three girls. Then he and his girlfriend had their son, T. Our younger son doesn’t have any biological children (yet. Please, God, let it be yet) but his girlfriend has two daughters, M and E. That brought us to five grandchildren. And our former daughter-in-law who is still very much our daughter entered a relationship with a man who has a son, B. He makes grandchild number 8. Did you make notes?

Now we go back to the disagreement between D and C (and the initials, because of my OCD, should be reversed).  D was very upset by the idea that he had somehow missed out on meeting his uncle and aunt. How could this be? Were we, as a family, hiding relatives from him? It was all so unfair! He wasn’t quite 7 so the idea that we might have family members we kept secret seemed plausible to him. After all, you can’t really trust anyone over the age of 10!

I was unhappy that C had attempted to distance our grandson from the family, however unintentional (or intentional) it may have been. My own sons were distanced from cousins when they were still in grammar school and it saddens me to this day.

My first thought was that C should be sent to bed without dinner or boxed up and shipped home via UPS (after all, this is a post chock-full of initials). But I relented. I explained to her that D had, indeed, met her parents. In fact, he met them before she was born. She was honestly shocked. “How?” she asked. So I explained that her parents hadn’t moved out of state until after D was born but before she’d been born. And, further, that they’d been back to visit even after she came along. D had spent rather a lot of time with them.

Then, because I was still upset because D was still upset, I did something I’m not proud of. I told her that if she wanted to be technical, her stepdad wasn’t technically her stepdad and her stepbrother wasn’t technically her stepbrother. Her mom wasn’t yet married to her stepdad. Her eyes grew wide. Then her older sister (technically half-sister) chimed in. “And I’m not technically Bam and Poppa’s granddaughter! And Dad isn’t technically my dad!” Oh, yes. I’d forgotten about that.

“That’s impossible!” C cried! “You are H’s Bam and Poppa!” “Yes,” I said, “but because of love. Our whole big family is a family because we all love each other.” H and I explained that even with divorces and new kids coming into the family we were still a family, albeit a growing and changing one.

“So when Uncle Pete has a baby…” {PLEASE God!}”that baby will be family even to my mom, right?” C queried. “Yep.” I said.
“Your mom will be Uncle Pete’s baby’s aunt.” C seemed to like the idea that no matter what might happen in the complicated, twisted relationships of the adults our family would never break apart. It would only grow larger.

Early this morning I was thinking about families in general and mine in particular. Families have changed drastically since I was a child. Back in those days divorces were rare and were spoken of in hushed tones. And children born out-of-wedlock were barely talked about at all. I’m old enough to remember girls going on extended “vacations” and coming back with changed bodies and broken hearts. I didn’t understand when I was very young, what had happened and why the girls were different. I couldn’t really grasp the concept of divorce. My parents were married 59 years when Daddy died. And I can only remember one divorce in my childhood neighborhood. And what a scandal it was!

Families have changed dramatically in my lifetime but one thing remains the same. A family is a group of people who love each other. It may be that, for one reason or another, people don’t live in the same state or even the same house any more. Marriages end. People die. But as long as there is love at the center, the family will go on. Because of love.

 

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2 thoughts on “Because of Love

  • November 1, 2016 at 3:58 pm
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    I love this! Thanks for sharing! You are right, family is a group of people that love each other 🙂

    Reply
    • November 1, 2016 at 5:55 pm
      Permalink

      I knew you’d appreciate the message there!

      Reply

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