Many people experience divorce as a loss. It’s often the loss of a dream and a love and many people have a sense too that divorce is a loss of family. I liked the way that Judy Osborne, author of Wisdom for Separated Parents, phrased it as more of a rearranging of relationships. That’s what I emphasize to my son when he laments that we don’t look quite the same as some his friends’ families. However, today’s family comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes … you can even become a grandmother without been a mother. Here’s Ashley:
It’s interesting, my mother’s second husband’s first spouse became my mother’s best friend. That’s how odd the extended family is now. The woman who was once the wife of my mother’s then husband ended up being her confidante and then became one of her best friends. My mom divorced husband number two, and stayed really good friends with his first wife.
It really illustrates how complicated it might have been as a kid. There’s so many extensions. My partner, in his second marriage had accepted what he considered as a daughter and her kids are our grandkids. She’s not his biological daughter but it’s been our view she’s as much a daughter as any biological daughter. He raised her from the time that she was three. And now she has two kids of her own. They call us Grandma and Grandpa.
So, here I am, never wanting to have kids of my own yet being a grandmother which was always a goal of mine incidentally.
My mom used to say, “There’s no way you can become a grandmother if you don’t have kids.” And I was like, “I’ll figure out a way!” It wasn’t intentional but on our first date, when my partner told me that his step-daughter had just had a child I lit up, “I could be a grandmother!”
It wasn’t like I went out searching for an opportunity. He was young for a grandfather and he was afraid to tell the new girl that he was going out on a date with, that he had a grandson. And here I was, “Yay, I achieved another goal!”
But you know, I don’t know all that many people who don’t have these odd family connections now-a-days.
The Divorce Coach Says
I just love this end to Ashley’s series although I did need to grab paper and pen to see the relationships between her mom and her mom’s friend. I love it because I believe in the value and strength of families. Yes, the structure of the family unit may well be changing and I think we need to embrace that rather than resist it. Aside from our spouse, we don’t get to choose our families and embedded in this segment is a message of acceptance.
What does your family look like now? Do you believe you are still family after divorce? What do you do to help your children accept that?
Photo credit: HerryLawford