One of my all-time favorite tv shows is Parenthood. I loved the movie back in the day too. (going old school)
It's one of those shows I look forward to every week and when it's not on, I'm disappointed. It's just that good. I laugh and cry every. single. episode. If you don't watch this show, YOU. ARE. MISSING. OUT.
A few weeks ago, part of an episode really struck me regarding families.
There is a character--Jabbar: a 6 year old boy, whose parents were planning on getting married but are no longer. They split up and in this episode had the realization that their son didn't know they wouldn't be getting married even though they all no longer lived under the same roof.
So, they sat down with him together to explain as much.
As they talked, they discussed different types of families with him. The scene finishes with this 6 year old boy somberly saying,
"I wish we were an under the same roof family."
(You can watch the scene here from 17:13 to 19:14 or so.)
I know at times Andrew has wished for that. And Reagan has too.
I remember taking Andrew to the airport when we still lived in Arizona for him to fly to visit his dad and the line was FILLED with kids waiting to get on airplanes alone to visit another parent somewhere. Tears immediately filled my eyes as I was so overcome by how the makeup of families has changed so much and my son was a part of that as well. It's sad, really. I don't wish Andrew's dad and I were still married (obviously). I'm so glad that Andrew has a great relationship with all of his parents and we all are able to love, encourage and support our son peacefully. I cannot imagine what that means to him. He's never known any different, but has been witness to the drastically extreme difference between Reagan and all of her parents and his.
Andrew's struggle is that his dad and I live in two different states, so his time with his dad isn't as frequent.
Reagan's struggle (one of them) is being allowed the freedom to love all of her family. Being told Lily is only her "half-sister" and wouldn't even be that until her dad and I were married (yeah, nevermind genetics) but then having a new baby at BM's that is allowed to be her "sister" even though technically she's a "half" too. Again, why do this to your own child? Just let her love them and be excited about them. Of course, Reagan, is now more comfortable in her role as big sister since Lily is 16 months old, so it's been really exciting for her to see a newborn and have some "experience" under her young 7 year old belt. ;) She talks to us about this new baby just as excited as she did about Lily. However, she also has shared some sadness throughout this process... BM telling her she was the last to know that the baby was born or BM saying to her, "this isn't a free-for-all for you to talk about Lily now that the baby is here." Well, since Lily is Reag's experience, of course she's going to talk about her. So, since she's an under two roofs family member, she gets to share HER life in our house. My heart just breaks for her.
Last week I was at school to take some pictures for one of the committees I'm on and saw Reag while I was there. We smiled and waved at each other and then I saw her turn to a friend, "That's my mom!" Immediately tears filled my eyes. I was overwhelmed by emotion...love, pride, relief, joy...and the feeling that "we have done this." After all the turmoil that this child has been through and despite every hateful, horrible thing said to her about me under one of her roofs, she called me her mom.
We're doing something right.
Although, two of the three of our children do not have an "under the same roof family" with their biological parents, we are a family and we are raising children who will have the tools to be successful in their lives...in all facets.