My family expanded from three people to seven four years ago, although it seems like much longer. As my two younger stepbrothers and I sat in bed looking through the wedding album of my dad and their mom, it dawned on me how much has changed since then. Not only the bad haircuts and even worse senses of style, but how each of us had grown and learned from one another.
Change is good, but not easy. If there’s one positive thing I learned from the divorce, it would be that. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and that different doesn’t need to mean bad. Every change takes some time getting used to, but denying the truth of what is will never change it. Live life with an open mind and try your best to not be resistant to change when times get hard.
Patience is a virtue. By no means does patience come easy, but it will get you much further with people, and in life, once you choose to work on it. By handling stressful situations patiently, you will earn respect and gratitude from others. People will appreciate the way you approached things and, in cases where they were asked to do something, will be much more willing to consider it. When circumstances are beyond your control, being patient is a way to make the best out of the situation.
You're always being watched. How you handle situations, the words you use, the music you listen to, and your behavior around younger siblings most definitely effects them. Be aware of your actions and let them enjoy their childhood as long as possible. Don’t rush them into growing up by putting down the things that we once enjoyed too.
Compromise is key. “Learn the wisdom of compromise, for its better to bend a little than to break.” - Jane Wells.
You’re not always going to get your way, and that’s life. Everyone has different interests and values, so you can’t expect to plan a day around what you want to do when there’s six other people with a different itinerary in mind. By compromising, everyone’s satisfied to an extent and no one feels any lesser than anyone else.
With acceptance comes happiness. “Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” - Sonia Ricotti.
Nothing you say or do can change what’s already been done. Dwelling on the past is a waste of time and energy that could be directed towards bettering your future. Come to terms with everything that’s led up to where you are now, learn from your mistakes, and move on.
Cultivate the habit of being grateful. Nothing is cheap in sevens, McDonalds included. When you realize how much money and effort it takes to go on vacation or out to dinner with such a large group, you learn the value of a dollar and appreciate what you’re given so much more.
All failure is failure to adapt. Whether it’s moving into a new house with a new family, or transitioning from high school to college, your lifestyle will at one point change and you need to be able to part with your old ways. Going from having your own room, to sharing a box with a stranger once you reach college isn’t the ideal situation, but, with time, you learn how to work around one another. The same goes for bringing two families together; as you add more people into the equation, the dynamic changes and you have to adjust to make things work.
Growing up being part of a blended family has not only blessed me with three extra siblings, a stepmom, and two dogs, but more good times and lessons than I can count. Nothing comes easy when living or traveling with a family of seven, but, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.