Family, Family, and Even More Family
RHOD Season 4 Episode 9
First, I want to share the long-awaited celebration which is upon us. The BIG day is finally here! LeeAnne and Rich are getting married. We have followed their journey of love, preparation, and planning through the last two seasons. Weddings bring up feelings of family and how they have been a part of our journey as we have learned about creating the foundation to relationships. They also make us reflect on how blessed we are to find and receive love in this way. I love this quote from LeeAnne’s: “Love helps us begin to fill in the places that darkness still lies if we let it in.” Beautifully said. I love weddings! We wish you all the blessings, LeeAnne and Rich.
As we look back on this episode, the ever-changing landscape for families is evident for all of us. I am grateful to the “housewives” for bringing up this important concept. From stepfamilies to those struggling with boundaries and finding their shifting “voice,” we can walk through each home and see how real this episode is for many of us today. Here are just a few examples that were provided for us.
Let’s start with Kary. She begins to reveal her struggle as a mom with her own children and a new husband working on fulfilling his role as stepdad. Blended families are becoming more the “norm,” and finding our rhythm is all part of the journey. It is a true process, one step at a time.
This is a topic I will be covering even more in my own work going forward. I am a mom and a stepmom, too. We have “step-grandchildren” and blending for all of us. Our term we use is just FAMILY, whether it is by blood or by heart. I am the product of “blending” early on. I am adopted and was chosen by my mom and dad when I was only 10 days old. You can see why family is a topic near and dear to my own heart.
Family brings its own lessons. At the heart of each conversation and interaction, we find how to be comfortable and caring through each step in the process of growing together. Family relationships teach us so many lessons about ourselves and then about the others around us. Our intention is to never feel in “lack,” but instead focus on what we do have and how we have it right now. We have learned that bringing up the past in our struggles is a taboo topic unless it is to celebrate where we are now as a family. Each person has their own speed of movement and acceptance in the family roles as they are evolving. Patience, persistence, and pacing will assist you as you lead toward conversations and events together.
Our next example is with Brandi. She shows us an inside view of how setting boundaries with our children is so important, especially in the adolescent years. Yes, every mom wonders if their children will resent them as they grow up. We ask ourselves, “Am I a bad mom?” Or even, “Will I ruin our relationship going forward?” Planning special moments together, keeping the lines of communication open, and valuing how our children see things is key to healthy interactions. With the addition of a new baby and one that is adopted, the stress has increased. When there is a big change such as this, each family member asks themselves, “What is my place in this family now?” Parents wonder if this child will create a new dynamic they can handle in life. “Will I know how to parent this child?” Brandi, our hearts are with you. We DO understand, and every child needs the security of boundaries in different ways. You will find they each should be disciplined differently, but always with love and acceptance.
The last example is D’Andra and Jeremy as they choose to go out to eat with Momma Dee and her brother. Even though it was a challenging discussion, it was a chance to open the topic of the status and financial difficulty D’Andra has received having taken over the business. It could have gone into the feelings of shame and blame for either of them. Would that be productive or beneficial in the moment to the end result? Was preserving the sense of family more important? When you have lost family and some of the stability you were accustomed to, you tend to treasure the boundaries and respect in a different way.
This episode was filled with the changing roles of life in our families. Some we will be prepared for, and some we will not be. Many times, we wrap our worth up tightly with our own expectations in our relationships that we affect the outcome of the interactions. Our feelings may get in the way of thinking clearly through the challenges. We must remember to pause and look at our own perceptions and reactions first. We mirror our relationships after what we have observed and engaged in during these situations, positively and negatively throughout our lives with our families. They teach us the greatest lessons about ourselves and our future.
Remember, it is about family. They look very different now and the challenges are there for us to engage, but the celebrations are there for us to embrace, too—whether you are starting a new family, adding to the family, or moving through family dynamics and history.
Thank you, “housewives,” for opening up your homes and your families to us. Stay tuned...