I am not reading blogs as I used to (sorry, but I scan/read through my blog reader because I am crunched right now) which means I don’t comment much either (though I am really trying to pop over and leave a note for those of you who are friends – ‘cuz I do care to know about you and yours and stuff). Sometimes I read things still that work me up enough to actually write a comment that says more than just “hi, I was here and thinking of you”.
Mommy blogs bore me. I don’t read them. I have my own mom moments and mom stories, and I prefer to get my advice from known sources. But I read Jessica because she is smart, irreverent and herself, which isn’t always a given. Bloggers have personas that don’t often match their real life self. You would have to know me for a while to hear the same kind of honesty from me that you read on my blog. Discretion is actually one of my real time virtues.
The subject has come up before on this blog and it irked me then too. It’s the idea that DNA trumps with a sub-theme of “I could never love another as I love my spouse”.
So I am adopted and until I had Dee, there was literally no one else in the world with whom I had a blood relationship. And I have to be honest, I didn’t love her at first sight. I was perplexed and a bit unsure because I was told I would love her with the intensity of a million suns from moment one and frankly, I didn’t feel that. She was a stranger who I thought I knew because of all the time she’d spent growing inside me. She was a little person from the start who I had to learn – just like I have had to learn everyone else in my life. As a result, I am not an advocate of the Disney Princess School of Motherhood.
I should have known this going in. I had witnessed plenty of instances of mothers and fathers whose regard for their biological children ranged from disinterest to pure duty with all sorts of cringe-worthy twists and turns in between. Biology ensures almost nothing in terms of attachment. Case in point would be Nephew1 who regularly threatens his mother (my youngest sis) with:
“If you do not come and visit me the next time I am at Grandma’s, I will divorce you when I am 18 and you will never see or hear from me again.”
This is the only thing that will rouse my sister from the reality show disaster of her life to spend an hour or so with her son. The third of four children to whom she has given birth. The other three she gave up for adoption without a second thought. The one she kept so she could go back on state aid because she was tired of couch surfing and living out of paper grocery sacks with her toothless boyfriend -who isn’t the father by the way. He wouldn’t oblige. She seduced the teenage friend of another guy – who also declined to impregnate her. Award winning mother material my sister is not and that’s my point. There are more people in the world like her that disprove the “I would lay down my life for my (bio) child” than not.
I would have taken umbrage even before I remarried (yeah, I’ll get to that) and became a step-parent. If there is any disparity in my feelings for my older girls and Dee, it’s because we are still getting to know each other. It’s harder when they are older and living on their own. We just don’t get opportunities to interact like Rob and Dee do, but I wouldn’t be able to choose among them in one of those hypothetical “you have to toss one from the boat scenarios” which are stupid anyway.
Blending fails when adults in the scenario make decisions that will ensure it does. Adults set the tone, make the rules and provide the examples, and if you go into a second marriage with children with whom your past track record as a real adult is in question, you are going to have your work cut out for you.
My Uncle Donnie married a widow who was 8 years older than he was and who had seven children – some of them already grown and married when they wed back in 1968. They all call him “Pops”. He is their children’s grandfather. They aren’t as blended into my mother’s family as they could have been because at the time, my mom’s siblings weren’t as close as they could have been – are now. This was the result of adult decisions. My grandmother didn’t like Auntie Bern very much. Different personalities. But as far as Auntie Bern’s family went Uncle Donnie was welcomed and became “husband” and “dad”. Auntie Bern passed away quite a while ago and nothing has changed.
Perhaps it’s what you are taught growing up? Dad’s family is the direct result of a second marriage after widowhood. His father’s older step-brothers had issues with their father, but they never let it keep them from integrating with their new siblings (who were the same ages as their own children really). Sometimes a certain amount of “suck it up, buttercup” is necessary to make blending work and this, I think, is what separates the true adults from the wanna-be’s and posers.
So, the nonsense about not being able to love another as much as your spouse? Crap. People fall in love after having long, short and in-between marriages to people they truly loved all the time. Often what I hear from them is that they are even happier in the second relationship. Because they didn’t love the first spouse or it wasn’t a “soul mates” thing? No, it’s because they know how to create a loving relationship. They make the extra effort because they have lost someone and know the searing pain of regrets and what-if’s and opportunities lost.
Love is something you choose to do whether there are biological ties or not. It is not magic or genetically hardwired. Believing in love as some kind of compulsion based on forces beyond our control is what allows us to not care about people who are homeless or without health care or are being imprisoned by fanatical religious extremists in parts of the world that don’t interest us because we don’t have family or first spouses there. It’s the kind of thinking that allows us to dehumanize others and dismiss them and their welfare and that kind of reasoning has never led humanity to any happy place that I know of.
I choose to believe that I am capable of more than that.