Our family is unconventional, but there is a lot of love.
When I was a kid I thought I owed an explanation to anyone I spoke to; an explanation pertaining to my family situation. Blended families weren’t as common as they are today, and my being from one along with living at my nonna and nonno’s house so often confused people. Blended families are more “normal” nowadays. Play dates are scheduled in accommodation with weekend rotations. And though teachers and daycare workers don’t question the complexities of my daughter’s families, as they have probably seen different variations already, some people can’t wrap their heads around them. Though not legally, as by paperwork standards I was almost an adult, a friend’s family adopted me when I was 17. I refer to them as family, and so my lil one does too. She calls members Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, Uncle … you get the point. She calls my step-mom Nonna, my sister and stepsisters Auntie, but does not call my biological father Grandpa. Her dad’s side of the family is more straightforward, as they are all related by blood. I had a therapist who did not approve of her calling my family through love Grandma, Grandpa, and so on. But she also did not approve of the use of “Ms.” so I didn’t pay too much attention to her. However, she did calm me when I voiced concerns over my daughter growing up in a non-traditional family. This was years ago, when I was going through the court for sole custody and all sorts of people were telling me my daughter would be doomed because I was breaking up a nuclear family. She told me that my daughter has all kinds of supports in her life, and it does not matter if they are through blood or not. Within this past year my partner moved in with us. She now has a step-dad. And my ex-boyfriend (my boyfriend post-split with my kiddo’s dad) still plays a role in her life, which raises many an eyebrow. I consider him one of my best friends, and he often babysits and celebrates holidays and birthdays with us. Many get all defensive in honour of my current partner, saying this friendship with my ex is strange. However, my partner does not mind, as he understands raising a child requires a lot of support. Also, we have this whole trust thing in our relationship. My daughter has many family extensions, and I am more than OK with that. I do not see the sense in depriving her of the love all these people have to offer. We owe no explanations.
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