The Blended Family: Making It Work!
When I met my wife Renee back in 1995, we both were coming out of relationships where we gave so much, yet the return in those relationships were “bearable.” Both of us had children and during the time of our “courtship” we did not jump and introduce our children to each other immediately. We grew to know each other, then shared with each other our desire to be committed, and then work toward joining our family together.
I can still remember the comment she made to me after we started dating each other. She said: “God told my aunt that you were the one I’m going to marry.” I looked at her puzzled, not because I doubted her saying it, but the fact that I didn’t really know her aunt at that time. Now when we see each other, we talk about almost everything.
During our time of being boyfriend and girlfriend, we did a lot together, and brought both our sons into the mix as well. From me travelling to Stanley NC to see Marquis at a school Fun day, to Renee’s visits to watch CJ play football on Saturday. Our goal was to make this not just our relationship, but to let our sons know that “we” will be a strong family. When Renee and I became engaged, we included the boys in on what our wedding plans were, even to the point when CJ’s mother informed us that her brother was getting married the same week we initially planned, we moved our date to accommodate him and ensure that CJ would be a part of our marriage as well. I still remember the day I took the boys to be fitted for their tuxedos, watching them talk and getting measured resonated in my spirit that they are now truly brothers. Both of them have had their “challenges” in life, but our goal was to treat both of them the same, and let them know that we would always be there if they needed us.
After our union, my wife and I were blessed in 1999 with the birth of our son Kierian, who became the catalyst, the glue for CJ and Marquis as brothers. To hear the three of them in a room talking about my wife and I on how we raised them, telling Kierian at times on what to do and how to do it, “or else mama and daddy is going to get you!” Their experiences in sports passed down to their younger sibling, and both being so protective of him. Even now, with CJ married with his own child and Marquis busy running fitness facilities, they both still check on their brother and make sure he’s on the correct path.
It’s been 20 years and our families have truly blended. From our family unit we’ve supported and loved not just Renee’s family and my family, but also the families from our prior relationships. We all attend events for the kids, visit each other for cookouts, chat of Facebook and so much more. Is it odd, not at all! An old African proverb states “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That is so true. Without each individual in our family contributing, loving, scolding and praying, none of us could be where we are today. When I see Renee’s brothers and sister, I see my brothers and sister, not “in-laws.” When Renee sees my family, they see not just my wife, but their family member that they can talk to and help in any way.
That is the true blessing, of a blended family. And believe it or not, it works!