Growing Up In A Blended Family

Edmonton 1979

Growing Up in a Blended Family

I always knew I had a biological father out there somewhere and I had lots of pictures of him but I don’t have a single memory of being with him, I do have a picture of my sister, my mom and my biological father taken sometime around 1979 that I love (see above).

 I was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1977; a few years after being born I was told we moved to British Columbia with my mom and dad, half-brother and half-sister. I’ve never actually called them my half siblings but biologically that is what they are. They both shared the same mom and same dad but I was born to a different man.

We moved to Oshawa

At some point when I was 3 or 4 we moved to Oshawa; my mom and my siblings were born here and all of our extended family was here, the difference was that my biological father stayed behind. I am not really sure why or what happened between my mom and him but I don’t feel the need to know to be honest. My older brother and sister’s dad also lived in Oshawa so this was the best place for us to grow up in my mom’s eyes.

I remember feeling a little left out when my brother and sister would go visit their dad on weekends. How come my dad wasn’t coming to see me or call me or write to me? I often felt like he abandoned me and that he didn’t want anything to do with me, what did I do wrong? Didn’t he love me?

She was the type of woman and mom who sacrificed everything for her kids

I had a mom and a brother and a sister and that was my early childhood. I grew up as a young girl in North Oshawa in a small two bedroom apartment. My brother is 7 years older than I am so naturally he got his own room and my sister and I are 3 years apart so we always shared a bed and my mom had a twin bed in our bedroom as well. She was the type of woman and mom who sacrificed everything for her kids. She only owned one pair of jeans, that she washed every other day, and the worst shoes ever….that have ultimately ruined her feet, just so that we always had food in our bellies, clothes on our backs and a house full of love. She never ever complained, it wasn’t until I was older that I found out all of the sacrifices she made for us kids. Christmas mornings were always my favorite and I will never forget them. Thanks mom!

My brother played hockey when he was younger on a park league team called North Oshawa. I used to have a love hate for the game as we didn’t have a car and so we would be up at the crack of dawn jumping fences and taking short cuts to walk to the arena for his games or practices. It was early and it was cold but once we were there I fell in love with the game. I used to love watching him play and I got to know all of his teammates and his coach, Gary Challice. A man I would soon call Dad.

I remember mom telling us she was going on a date with Gary and he picked her up at our apartment building one day. She looked so happy. They dated for a few years and it felt great to have a ‘dad’. He had two kids of his own that were older than I am. His daughter Stacey is 8 years older than I am and we were never really close when I was young. She was living with her mom at this time I believe. And his son Jason is 6 years older than I am and he went back and forth with his mom and Gary. Jason also played on the hockey team so I had already known him for years.

I would have a dad and new siblings!

When I was in the 6th grade at Queen Elizabeth Public School, I remember mom telling us that Gary had asked us to move in with him. I was so excited! I had lived my entire life living in a low income apartment building and now I was going to be living in a house and I would have a dad and new siblings! I would also be changing schools that year and he happened to live right across the street – WIN! So there we were, mom and Gary and us four kids living under one roof. I know Stacey and Jason had a hard time with it all, they were older when their parents separated and it hurt them the most but I was so young and so impressionable that I loved having a big family! More siblings, a dad, a house….my own bed! I was in heaven!

We were this huge happy family and we did all kinds of things like camping and going to car shows and hockey games and having family dinners! My mom always cooked dinner since my dad worked all day and he couldn’t cook *sorry Pops. He would come home from work every day at 5pm and mom would have dinner on the table. We always sat as a family and ate dinner together and talked about our day except when there was a hockey game on the TV or a car race then it played in the background. He would ask how school was or how work was and what was everyone up to. I always looked forward to this and I now do it in my own home. He would ask about my homework or the sports I was playing at the time, he was always involved in all of our lives and made us all feel equal. No one was loved any less or any different just because we weren’t all biologically related.

Blood doesn’t make a family… does.

My parents just celebrated their 25 years of marriage anniversary and as I raise my own blended family, they treat my step-kids as if they were their grand-children. The greatest thing my parents have taught me is that blood doesn’t make a family… does.

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