The New Definition of Family: An Ugly Mess
I watched years ago as my daughter walked away from me. Figuratively, that’s how I felt. My wife and I were getting a divorce and putting my daughter in the car on the day she took her to the new apartment, it literally felt like my daughter was being dragged away, and there was nothing I could do.
Of course, I would be seeing her in a few days. At that time, we had an arrangement where I would get her every other day and every other weekend. That’s a good bit of time to get with your child when you are going through a separation or divorce. Custody battles can get very ugly and the father can end up with just weekends or a weekend. I’ve heard of a few hours a week and gasped at the thought.
Over the years, I have grown. I have gone through the ugly mess of watching my ex-wife find another man and with him came his own children that he was passing back and forth between his ex-wife.
I have now found my own loving relationship, and coming with her are children of her own. It’s a huge maze that looks like an octopus when you step back and look at the entire family structure. I get confused sometimes about who belongs where in the puzzle.
I had a friend of mine sit down with me lately and when we talked about the ex-wife and her new extended family, my relationship and my extended family, he commented, “Wow, that’s one ugly mess!”
I don’t know. I think it’s beautiful. It’s a very strong family situation, far from any traditional definition of the family. But, it’s the new definition. There are support networks built in all over the place for any of the children who need help dealing with a problem. There are brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents from every angle you can imagine and we all have one thing in common, if not more, we love our family.
It might look to someone else as one ugly mess, but it’s a beautiful mess to me. No one ever promised me that it would be clean, organized, always perfect. But also, no one ever knew how beautiful it could be!