You know when you have something traumatic happen in your life and after that trauma you want to tighten the reins on your life?
Yea, that’s me.
After my ex husband and I separated I was in charge of myself and my four kids. I wanted my kids to turn out as good as possible. I didn’t want my boys to turn out like their dad. That was a huge motivation. I wanted them to be strong in their Christian faith and to have joy in their lives. I wanted them to grow up, have Christian families, and have good lives. A bit simplistic, but you get what I’m saying.
What’s wrong with that? Right? Don’t we all want our kids to grow up to be, do and have those things?
That all being said, I don’t have a lot of rules in our home. We have bedtimes, eating at decent times, going to church on Wednesdays and Sundays, doing homework, being respectful, etc. All of the things you expect in a family. Well, the things *I* expect in a family. On the other hand, I’m extremely lax in a lot of things. There’s a balance. Sorta.
What happens when that neat and tidy world collides with someone who doesn’t have his life all tied up in a bow like that? Someone like me tries to batten down the hatches even more. Unfortunately, that has backfired on me. I thought if we could all live within boundaries, live with rules, and respect, then we’d all be happy, right? Sheesh, how hard could that be?
Oh, well, let’s just say completely. How about holding on so tightly you choke the life out of it? I can easily say I’m a choker. I don’t want to be, but that’s what I’ve become.
I live in a black and white world. I have certain expectations. He lives in a gray colored world and takes life as it comes. Something he said today clicked in my head…maybe my heart? I want his kids to behave like my kids (who are FAR from perfect). If they don’t then he “has to” make them behave that way. Look at my kids, why can’t he make his kids behave the same way? Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but that’s because I want to to tighten those reins. If he does, then everything will get better (in my mind). I don’t think wanting our kids to behave a certain way is a bad thing.
Unfortunately, it actually is. His kids can’t act that way. That’s not how they’ve been brought up for the past 12 and 14 yrs. I want his kids to behave the way my kids do and that’s just not fair.
You know, if they were kids struggling in our youth group, I’d love on them. I’d walk beside them and try to help them grow in the Lord. Now, I have to say, I’ve tried to be positive with his kids. No, they aren’t kids from youth group, and I have extremely limited time to come along side them like I would a kid from youth group. When we’re all together, I’ve tried to be cheerful and good natured. The amount of time we spend together is extremely limited. It doesn’t happen all of the time, and it’s gotten a lot harder lately.
I set my expectations too high on Fred and on his kids, and that has caused me to be on the losing end of our relationship. Every time something “more” happened, I wanted him to fix it. That only pushed him further away from me. I haven’t been putting myself in his shoes meanwhile I’ve reminded him over and over how he hasn’t put himself in my shoes.
He has a lot to battle with being a part time dad and his kids living in an environment that’s completely different than he and I would like it to be. I on the other hand have been completely unlovable. I have been walking around hurt and angry. This is not to say that he has been perfect and wonderful in all of this. He’s had struggles as well.
I don’t know how to live in the gray. The gray is a scary place for me. It means a lot of unknown, less expectation, letting go. I like to understand things. I need things to make sense in my life. I crave neat and tidy.
Love isn’t neat and tidy. In fact, it’s a whole lot of messiness, a lot of screw ups and heartache. I’m reading the first chapter of the Love Dare and realize I have no clue about loving someone like Fred. I don’t know that I’ll understand it in time, either. And that, that makes me profoundly sad.
If you’re in a blended family, how did you dare to love?