Years ago, when we first married, I did a lot of reading on step families/blended families.
They talked about a lot of different things you should NOT do (which some things, I might add, I most certainly did and do not for one second regret, and am actually now reading that, “oops, they had it wrong”… glad Rob and I made our own decisions prayerfully).
I was more intrigued by the things they said you SHOULD do. Like introduce unique traditions. (Yay tradition crazy me!)
They suggested not trying to just throw two families together, but trying to really create your own identity as a new family.
I admit, we were blessed that all our kids were relatively young, so that really worked in our favour. I think had they all been teens, we would have had to approached a lot of things differently. (Funny how, in my mind, getting divorced at the time I did (early 30’s) with such young kids had seemed like the worst timing, but boy, it sure worked out that we were all still young when I remarried (mid 30’s)!
When we married, as I have explained before, we had 3 last names going: Rob’s last name, as well as his kids’ (C), my last name (my maiden name; I had never changed my name when I first married (first marriage in Quebec and by law you don’t change it) and since it was also my professional name, I wasn’t going to change it now as it complicated things; plus it’s the boys’ middle name and I felt like if I changed my name to Rob’s last name, they would feel left out:) (D); and the boys’ last name (F).
We decided our new identity would be the CDFs.
We then decided to work on some family laws, as well as routines/chores (or “zones”, as we called them), as well as a family motto.
We decided on something that represented our values and uniqueness, and it gets recited during our weekly family home evening:
CHARITY: the love we give ourselves and others. The pure love of Christ; representing our faith.
DETERMINATION: the value of hard work, effort, commitment, loyalty and perseverance.
FAIRNESS: Over the years we have summed it up as “getting what you need”.
Fast forward almost a decade and CDF is still going strong. We really do refer to ourselves as CDFs! Mail often arrives for the CDFs and we have CDF traditions, meals, tournaments (got to get back to that one that screeched to a halt when Rob had his heart attack) and vacations etc. We have a strong CDF identity.
I had a little moment of panic the other day when I realized we had one boy hiking with his girlfriend in Colorado, and another boy sitting in an airport in California waiting to go to Ecuador. Ummm shouldn’t these boys be playing mini sticks upstairs in their room and us yelling up to tell them to stop talking (and giggling or trying to prank Zandra or trying to scare the little guys) and go to bed?! Or spending late nights at “Club Zach” or working on the CDF newspaper?
I guess soon enough it will be CDF reunions we look forward too:(
Anyhow, (wipe tear, here)….
The other morning on our ride to soccer camp, Josh was his usual morning chatty self. (Poor guy is really not a morning guy!)
I was trying to get him to talk/laugh and I told him he would eventually break. I could eventually get him to do it bcs I’m always his mama (and am super funny, and he’s lucky to have me, blah blah blah).
AND, most importantly, he’s always part of our CDF family and we are like “Hotel California” (one of his fave songs), so he can check out any time he likes, but he can never leave.
So I got a smirk (told you I was funny) and a few words (something like “you are crazy, Mom”) (well kid, embrace my craziness because you do have my genes. Haha). But, I did it!!
In relaying the story to Rob, he said, “Of course! That’s what CDF really means: “Checkout Denied Forever”. Josh definitely smiled at that one and said, “ok, that’spretty good.”
I laughed so hard, and then sent around a text to our “CDF chat” announcing that this would be our new CDF motto.
(Gabe and Rob will work on the merchandising!)
I think it’s appropriate given everyone is growing up! Just reaffirming the message that they are part of the CDF clan forever (with their eventual spouses and children happily added to this clan!)
CDF: Checkout Denied Forver.