By Jessie Voiers, December Blogger of the Month
When my husband and I got married we brought six small children into our union. While we were madly in love, our children were not! Our marriage began from a place of love, but our children were actually entering this new blended family from a place of loss. Divorce is a huge loss for kids! It was difficult for me to know that my joy came from the loss of their traditional family. While I knew we couldn’t operate from a position of guilt, I knew we had to honor their loss and find a way to blend our families so we could move forward as a united front.
Blending families is an eye-opening experience when it comes to traditions. Each family is so unique in how they celebrate holidays, the foods they eat, and even how they enjoy spending their weekends. We had to find a balance. Since the kids were so young, one way that continues to help us connect as a family is developing our own family traditions. While each of us holds on to some of our old traditions, we have started creating traditions that are unique to our blended family.
For example, my son and I never acknowledged Santa at Christmas time; it just wasn’t something I taught him. But my husband and his kids are Santa lovers. We had to find some balance. Enter Elf on the Shelf! Now instead of doing the Santa thing we have this funny elf that visits our home the entire month of December. He does all kinds of funny things and makes us laugh. We found a balance, and it works for us.
I’ve also never been a big gift-giver when it comes to birthdays, but my husband is used to extravagant gifting. Now our family tradition honors my need for simplicity by letting each kid pick a homemade cake, their favorite meal, and a special drink for their big day. But we also honor his need for gifting by providing three presents to open. It’s all about finding a balance and combining a little bit of the traditions from each of our families. Sometimes even the little traditions like bedtime routines, family outings, and sporting events involve compromise. We are constantly navigating new territory and trying to find a balance that promotes unity in our family.
In my last post I spoke about how traditions have helped me heal. My hope is that, as our new family blends and creates our own traditions, we will heal from the losses of the past and form strong connections with one another. Our hope is that our children will develop strong bonds and create memories that will nurture them in the future. Most of all, we hope that our traditions help nourish the qualities of laughter, love, compromise, and kindness in their lives.
Jessie Voiers is the laughing lady behind the blog Then I Laughed. Jessie is mom to six, wife to one, and blogger to many. When Jessie isn’t trying to keep track of her kids she is sharing funny stories, advocating for adoption and special needs kids, and trying to save a buck or two.