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Walking on Eggshells

It was a difficult and awkward time

There are times in our Famtourage that life is fun and easy.

There are also those times when I (we all) struggle to keep everyone happy. In a group the size of our clan, this can prove to be challenging. I have used the term ‘Walking on Eggshells’ to describe different situations I have been in.

In the beginning, before I had met C and the separation and divorce was still new, I wasn’t always the kindest or understanding person to R and Big J.

I wasn’t always the kindest or understanding person…”

At that time the eggshells that I walked on were for the benefit of my children. I did not want to be disrespectful to either of them in front of the boys. Big J was a good father and what had happened was between us, it had nothing to do with our three little boys.

The boys and Me on our first trip as a single mom -1993

It was important to me that the boys always felt safe, secure, and loved on the weekends they spent with R and Big J. But most of all, I never wanted them to be made to feel guilty about being with one parent or the other. I had watched other families torn apart by such anger, jealousy and bitterness and I was bound and determined not to let that happen to our children.

This was probably the most difficult time for me in terms of our blended family. We were far from the ‘Famtourage’ that we are now. Back then I held a lot in. I did a lot of soul searching and I tried to create some semblance of peace, not only for the boys, but for myself. I felt very much alone.

I found myself having to fight this intense, innate, and animalistic need to protect my boys.

In the beginning, I truly was not prepared for the incredible urgency I felt each time I said goodbye to the boys. I found myself having to fight this intense, innate, and animalistic, need to protect them.

It literally caused me physical pain to see or even imagine my boys being cared for by the hands of another woman. Yet, my rational side kept telling me ‘you want her to be good to them. You want them to feel safe and loved. They need it, they deserve it.’

R was very good with our sons and grew to genuinely care about them. She made sure they were clean, fed, happy and had everything they needed. They didn’t need to worry about packing an overnight bag. She did a great job of making it comfortable for them so that they truly felt that they were going to their other ‘home’ and not just their dads house.

And so with time, it got a little easier day by day, month by month, and year by year. R and I began to communicate more and we began to form a more healthy relationship.

“I think the real turning point between R and me was when she and Big J had their son.”

I think the real turning point between R and me was when she and Big J had their son. I brought the three boys to meet their new little brother Ja just hours after he was born and I know that both Big J and R knew and appreciated how emotional that would be for me.

R now knew, and felt that same maternal need to protect her son. She truly realized the kind of love that only a mother can know. We actually had a very touching exchange about that shortly after.

The eggshell effect eventually became easier as time went on, but I still felt as if (and still do on a rare occasion) I needed to watch what I say around R as I did not want to make her or my husband C uncomfortable talking about the past with her husband, my ex. I cannot speak on her behalf, but I have to suspect that she has felt the same around me.

It is however, almost impossible not to talk about the past when you have spent 12 years with someone and have 3 children together. They were a huge part of your life and a big chapter in your story. It is this past that makes us part of who we all are today.

You cannot avoid these conversations and have a true friendship or relationship with someone, if you constantly have to think about every word you are saying. We have all worked together as a team on this and I think we have had great success.

Over the past 27 years that uneasiness has all but disappeared with R. We even have our own inside jokes and poke fun when discussing Big J or C. My ex-husband and my husband could not be any more different, yet they get along beautifully. This weekend they are together celebrating our son’s Bachelor party.

“Once again there are eggshells beneath my feet.”

Our family has grown over the years and all the boys now have significant others. Once again there are eggshells beneath my feet.

Each one of their girls has a very different personality and way of interacting with all of us. I believe in time it might get a bit easier. It is just a matter of getting to know each other better and being open and honest with one another. Communication is key to any relationship.

R, Ja, K, D, E, J, S & Je

I hate eggshells. I just want to be able to relax and enjoy my family. I hope and I pray for the day when I can just sweep all those shells away…

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