I love connecting unrelated items. If we can visualize relationships between two completely different things, maybe we can one day stretch to see the commonalities in our own very unique selves. So let’s cut right to a particularly controversial chase. Blended families. Blackberries. One controversial, one fairly innocuous. Everyone can probably agree that blending a family can lead to some sticky situations. So can making blackberry jelly. After sixteen years of step-parenting, I can list a few ways that these two things connect.
You’d best wear long pants and sleeves when you hunt for wild blackberries, otherwise you’ll bleed profusely. Marrying someone with children can lead to some thorny confrontations as well. Prepare for it by protecting your heart and waiting. The fruit is sweet. You could always go picking in a controlled and thorn-free environment. To me, hard-won wild fruit tastes better. Plus I don’t have to pay for it.
Juicing…and All That Sugar!
To make jelly, you separate the juice from the pulp. It’s sticky. Blackberry guts go everywhere. It takes time and elbow grease for the purple drips on the counter to fade. The hot pulp burns your hands when you squeeze it. When you’re trying to squeeze unrelated people into a second family, it takes effort. Each family member has a story and a set of valid perceptions. It’s hard for young children to find the juice necessary to step up to a new situation and leave the pulp behind. Keep pouring the sweetness—on the children, your spouse, and most of all, yourself. The results of your blended family just might be delicious!
Patience While it All Simmers
It’s tempting to skimp on all the exact boiling instructions when you’re making jelly. The timing has to be exact, or you’ll ruin the recipe. You have to respect the process. It’s the same with family ties. Love and trust have to be earned. They aren’t instantaneous. Take your time, be yourself, and don’t force it.
Somehow, magically, after all that squeezing and stickiness, you have (hopefully) some delicious pints of jelly. Every batch is slightly different in texture and flavor, but no less delicious. So it is with second families. They aren’t like first families. These “step” or “bonus” blended families form themselves in their own way. Allow the special uniqueness of your own blended family to emerge. Just be, and see what happens. Amazing sweetness awaits!
Speaking of connections and main ideas…