Dec 26, 2012

Family Merging

How do you begin to merge a new member into your family? How do you become part of someone else's family? I look at my parents, who've been married 31 years, and they are both natural parts of one another's extended family. My dad's siblings are my mom's, my mom's nephews are my dad's. It feels as though it's always been that way. How do you start from scratch and get to that point?

Some families are open to welcome new members readily. Others, it takes a little coxing, a little awkwardness to elbow your way in and find your new place.

For the first time this year, Katrina and I participated in one another's family Christmas', in some way. We've done little bits of merging here and there... but Christmas is a big deal. You don't just bring anyone to Christmas.

I took her to my aunt & uncles house, she got to meet quite a few of my mom's siblings, my cousins, my grandma. And you know what? It felt... natural. I was nervous and didn't know what to expect, but somehow no one acted strange or asked us questions about the nature of our relationship, they were warm and welcoming. My little cousins ate up the attention. Katrina jammed on the guitar with my uncle. She spent some time on the porch talking about birding with my Aunt.

It is so important to me that Katrina is accepted as part of my family, because family is so important to me. She loved them, they loved her, and that was the best Christmas present I ever could have asked for. I don't know what they think or know about "us", but does it matter? I feel we've opened the door, and the more I have her around, the more she'll gradually just become accepted as part of the family.

Sharing Christmas traditions with Katrina's family.
Her birthday cup of coffee in the owl mug I got her.

After that, we headed home to Katrina's for her family Christmas. For the first time ever, I got to spend time with her on her actual birthday (Christmas Eve!), which was wonderful. Her mom even put me in charge of making Katrina's favorite cake. My plan was just to stay out of the way and not intrude on their holiday together, but her mom made an extended effort to include me - she even pulled together some gifts and a stocking for me when she found out I was coming. I was so touched. It meant more to me than she could ever know.

I think merging happens gradually, over time spent together. Meals, memories and traditions shared. Being there for one another. Making an effort to get to know and love these new people in your life.

How have you merged into someone else's family, or brought someone into yours? Was it natural and easy? Did it take a long time? When did you feel like you really belonged there?

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones!


4 comments:

  1. Stacey and I have been apart since the 20th, when I had to come to London for work - and I miss her hugely! I'm hoping that next year we'll spend Christmas together - maybe with our immediate family, maybe without - so we can start some of our own traditions. Sounds like both of your families are happy and accepting though - Merry Christmas and a (belated) happy birthday to K too!

    Carley xx

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    1. I can totally relate to holidays apart - that sucks! :-( Hopefully you have New Year's together?
      Yes, I was pleasantly surprised and very thankful things went smoothly with both of our families. Merry Christmas to you and Stacey too, I hope you're together again soon!

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  2. Funny this comes up now...see my latest blog post: http://cindi-with-an-i-dammitt.blogspot.com/2012/12/marriage-and-acceptance.html

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    1. Oh my gosh... Cindi - I love this! You made me cry, your writing & story is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

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