Keeping the Faith: In the mix

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 15:00 PM.

Many years ago I wrote an article that one of my newspaper editors entitled, "The Beautiful, Blended Family of God." It was a delightful little piece that I scribbled down while watching my two young sons play together.


My boys are adopted and are as different as can be — in personality and physicality — but in their younger years they hardly noticed their differences; that one of them is blonde-haired and blue-eyed, and one's skin is the color of a well-stirred mocha latte with ebony hair and eyes. Nor did they recognize that neither of them looked anything like me or their mother.


My article was upbeat, optimistic, and buoyed by idealism. My "blended family" sounded like a sweet swirled coffee that you might enjoy at a corner cafe; or like some fruity, umbrella drink you guzzle down at the beach. I'm still filled with hopeful joy for my children, but now our blendedness sometimes sounds and feels more like what pours out of a concrete mixer than what flows from an espresso machine.


See, the boys are older, in acne-laden puberty, growing like grass around the septic tank, and peppering me with hundreds of questions about their origins, their futures, the opposite sex, and the delicacies of life in middle school. They recognize their differences, and in the throes of adolescence, desperately celebrate those differences.


A natural born son has been born into this mix since those early days as well, a brother who is deeply loved by his older siblings but whose status as a DNA match to the adults in the household is never very far below the surface of any brotherhood rivalry. Further, I'm older and possess much less patience than I used to, and their mother is sometimes in a premenopausal, hormonal fog that robs her of her clarity of mind.


So if you eavesdrop on our household, nearly a decade after "The Beautiful, Blended Family of God" hit the presses, you'll hear the rocks and mortar clanging around in a sloppy soup, but we are still family, and like concrete, we are sticking together the best we can.


The truth is, "family" is a messy business, and it doesn't really matter much whose family it is. They are all dysfunctional — all of them — and the dysfunction is measured only by degrees. Some are a little healthier, some not so much, but all of them have their quota of tears, struggles, gut-punches, and general banging about in the mixer of life.



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