Babies are such a blessing!
Yesterday, Jeff (the ex-husband), Keith (the ex-husband’s boyfriend), and the kids and I attended Keith’s sister’s baby shower (still confused? See our story HERE). This is gong to be the first child for Keith’s sister and her husband, and I just know that they are going to be great parents. Keith’s sister is a kind, warm, and caring person – three qualities that are primary ingredients for being a good parent.
This was the first opportunity for the kids and I to meet Keith’ sister (she lives pretty far away from us) and it was no surprise that she is just as charming and sweet as Keith is! The kids and I were so thrilled to be part of this family’s celebration for this new baby boy!
Our “New” Extended Family
Keith’s mom and dad hosted the event at their house, as Keith’s sister and her husband live in Hawaii and this shower was a way for her “mainland” family and friends to celebrate the new baby boy expected to be born by the end of the year.
Keith’s mom and dad are very special people and I feel so blessed to have them as part of our new extended family. What I love most about these two awesome people is the way they made the kids and I feel welcomed into their family when we first met them several years ago. They did this in a way that didn’t make our Modern Family feel strange or weird at all.
It didn’t hit me until yesterday how well Keith’s parents were able to take the potentially complicated situation of integrating our Modern Family into their family and actually made this situation seem normal and natural – and they didn’t HAVE to do this, but I think it was because they WANTED to. This must have been a very confusing time them. To my knowledge, there is no parenting manual that exists that tells you step-by-step how to welcome your son’s boyfriend’s kids and their mom into your family!
What did Keith’s parents do that made the kids and I feel so welcome in their family? After thinking about it a bit, I think I have identified a few key things that Keith’s parents did (and continue to do) that made us feel comfortable:
- When we get together with them, they do not make the situation awkward or uncomfortable by asking nosy questions or making judgmental remarks.
- They always seem to know what is going on in my kids’ lives (with their school or activities) and they seem genuinely interested in both kids.
- They appear to be free of any preconceived expectations about how we should act, think, or behave around them, and this makes it so comfortable to just be “us” around them.
5 Reasons Why Families Created by Love are Just As Great as Families Created by Blood
My Modern Family is an example of how a family created by LOVE is just as functional as one created by BLOOD. I think its great when extended members of a biological family (i.e. parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.) can all get along and form a strong and supportive bond, but this isn’t always the case.
Some people just don’t have biological family members available to them because they live far away from biological family or most of their family members have died. Other families might want a relationship with their biological family, but maybe those family members don’t want a relationship back.
There are lots of reasons why some Modern Families choose important people other than biological family (or IN ADDITION to select biological family members) to become a supportive, cohesive FAMILY. There are several advantages to creating this type of family. They include:
When you choose people to be a part of your family, you get to designate the TONE of your family.
For example, I prefer positive people – negative people are hard for me to be around for long periods of time; therefore, I choose people with positive attitudes to be a part of my Modern Family. This helps to create a tone of positivity for the kids and me.
1. When family members generally share the same values – and consistently live by those standards – there is a better sense of family identity and less conflict. It is ok when family members disagree on some topics – I’m not saying that families should ALWAYS agree on EVERYTHING – but when the family members generally agree on important values and standards, it builds a cohesive bond between the family members.
2. When special people are chosen to be part of an extended family, there is less competition and jealousy between family members. Lots of biological families have problems with competition and jealousy among family members. This usually happens when individuals try to fill certain “positions” in the family, but when you have created your own family, everyone has a place in the family and the need to fight for a certain spot in the family is eliminated.
3. When you choose family members, you tend to have “go to” people for specific roles. If we are using my family as an example again, I find that I tend to gravitate towards certain people for specific needs. For example, Jeff is always my go-to guy for career advice. He knows he won’t hurt my feelings by giving me hard-to-hear advice. On the other hand, my friend Julie is my go-to person for discussing my feelings during a crisis – I don’t know what I would have done without her during some pretty difficult times in my life!
4. It makes it easier to lean on others in time of need. Asking for help becomes a lot easier with a family of your own creation because there is less backstabbing, gossiping, and insincere “help” from these family members. The people that you have included to be a part of your family WANT to be there and it makes sense that they would WANT to help you (and for you to help them in return) so the petty parts of aiding others (such as the gossiping about it afterward) does not exist with this kind of family.
Take Home Message
Keith’s parents are not the only special people that we have included to be a part of our Modern Family. Our family is comprised of other important biological family members and friends.
Jim Rohn, the motivational speaker, once said that, “ You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” When I think about this quote, I am reminded how I have the power to be a better person by CHOOSING the influential people with which I spend the majority of my time.
If I spend my time with people who are positive, creative, and adventurous, then more than likely, I will find it easier to practice these qualities in my own life as well.
So what do YOU think of families created by love versus families created by blood? Do you think I am way off the mark here? Did you have to create your own family too? I would love to hear about it!