Or why it can be difficult to be the only “natural” child of a new relationship!
We are a blended family, I might have mentioned this once or twice before. And with this comes A LOT of children – his, mine and ours – only, my OH and I actually only have 1 daughter which we produced together! I know, right?!?!? OUT OF 8 KIDS, just the 1, lovely, clever, kind & gentle young lady – we call Astrid (She was called Chloe at birth but has now decided she wishes to be known as Astrid)
Most of the time she is a happy, cheerful & larger-than-life carefree soul – occasionally involved with the odd incident with one or more of her siblings but, that’s life…. She lives with 4 of them after all so there’s bound to be friction once in a while (and that’s probably understating it to be fair)
Then there are the other times.
These are the ones when Astrid becomes tearful, clingy and even difficult. She can look like a different child, sound like a different child and behave like a totally different child, one who is struggling to remain in control of herself. It’s quite scary & very upsetting – for all of us.
There is one main reason this transformation happens and it’s unavoidable.
All 4 of her siblings have non-resident parents – 3 of them have a mum who currently lives in Chelmsford, Essex, so that every other weekend, and for half the holidays the boys are not at home, whilst Astrid’s older sister stays with HER dad who lives in the same town as us, in the same pattern.
This means we go from being 7 people to just 3. It can feel very empty.
And this is what Astrid finds hard to manage, the semi-silence, the massive feeling of space once everyone (nearly) has left as she rattles around. My OH & I attempt to spend time with her, read, play and generally spend time focussing on her but this is OUR downtime too, so in some ways we get a little selfish at times and spend some of this time on our own needs as well.
I don’t know if she’s old enough to resent that, yet, but eventually. I hope not, and will do everything I can to help her understand why, the situation is as it is, and why we try so hard to help her feel loved & wanted always. Sometimes she does get very frustrated that her other siblings have “two Christmases” or “Two Birthdays” or “Two Mums” etc and is not yet mature enough to understand why that isn’t always a good thing….. She hasn’t been exposed to the negativity which being part of the blended family frequently results in.
Frankly I hope she never does and that’s the only thing she ever complains about.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to worry, continue to hug Astrid when she cries for her Brothers & Sister and I’ll continue to tell her that it’s “Ok” for her to miss them, and that “They’ll be back soon”. I need her to know that she’s not alone and doesn’t have to be lonely – we ARE here!