I’m the youngest of eight children.
Let’s allow that to sink in for a bit before I explain that I am from a “blended” family.
I’ll never forget, at 6 years-old, when my teacher asked me to draw a family tree. I looked at her with a blank stare and no idea of where to begin.
How do you explain that you are the illegitimate, love-child of an affair? Of a mother that already had one and a father that had four? How do you draw the two-step siblings you later acquired when you were just three-years old?
It was tough to draw but never tough for me to explain. I always knew my step-dad was my “dad” and my real dad was my “father”.
But not once, not ever, did I know where I belonged.
My childhood was all about trying to find my place.
Where did I fit in?
In elementary school, I attended the meeting for children of divorced parents- but mine had not yet separated.
At home, I found solace in our nucleus of 2+2, until my mom and step-dad divorced when I turned 18 and off to college I went.
My mom sold the house. My step-dad remarried into a family with two new sons and ceased contact with me.
I felt completely lost.
Thanksgiving was no longer spent with the two step-siblings I had called my brother and sister. Christmas with my half-sister was shared with her father. And holidays spent with my father’s four children had never been done.
Where did I belong?
I searched. For many years, I looked for his face, his warmth and the security of his embrace.
And finally, I found him.
And together, we created where I’ve belonged, all along.