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Blended Family Friday: When Unicorns Spray Brown

I value painful honesty over a fake happy show but quite often in this little space of mine, my hands are tied and no, not for kinky purposes. They’re tied because sometimes transparency can hurt the people we love. I want you guys to see it all, though, I really do, because laying it all out on the table not only helps others but heals ourselves. How many times have you met someone new and connected with them once one of you has chosen to be vulnerable? If we stick to the safe stuff like the weather and the carcinogenic properties of nitrates (omg I love hot dogs) then we’re going to miss out on a lot of close relationships.

The other day Andrew and I were talking to our counselor and she, knowing all the ins out and outs of our lives, assured us that every family has shitty stuff hidden behind closed doors and that the sooner we can stop pretending to be perfect, the better. Because like my dad always says, we’re only as sick as our secrets.

Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Having kids is hard. Divorce is bone-crushing. So is the death of a spouse, miscarriage, the loss of a job, infertility, it goes on and on. Sometimes life feels like a giant nipple twisting kick to the crotch. But what are we going to do about it?

Blowing out another person’s flame doesn’t make ours shine any brighter. We’re created for togetherness so that when we lean in toward each other, our flames join into a high-reaching fire.

The truth? Kylah and Ethan’s mom hates me. She walks all the way around the back of the school to avoid me. The sight of me makes her physically sick. I write this out here for this purpose: to be transparent, to be real. We don’t have this perfect blended family where everyone gets along. Our kids squabble with each other, both biological and step. Callum bites each and every one of us with zero regard to DNA relativity.

But just like with everything else, it’s not what we do perfectly that matters much at all. No. We are not defined by our mistakes for to err is human. It’s what we do after that really counts. And it’s in these moments, if we’re open and honest with each other, where we are able to learn and grow and move forward.

It’s difficult to be married, to have kids, to go through divorce, to survive the unimaginable bone-crushing pain of traumatic stress. Like our counselor says, everybody has stuff that they’re hiding behind their adorable selfies, intimidatingly perfect Facebook posts and grammatically correct writing. I’m not going to be liked by everyone, and I’m okay with that. I don’t even need my own kids to like me. I just need to focus on loving as much as I can and hope that wherever I lack, that grace fills in the cracks.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Maddie @ Dixie Runs May 1, 2015, 6:32 am

    Your openness is what keeps me coming back to your blog every single day. You officially have a stalker and I’m not even ashamed of it… Thanks for being honest, it’s seriously so refreshing.

    I’m getting married later this year and we both want kids at some point in the next couple years, and that scares the crap out of both of us but makes us really excited at the same time. I try to have a realistic outlook on what that will be like, but sometimes with blogging we only share the good stuff, and I get the sense that having kids is all sunshine and butterflies every day. So thank you for being 100% real… life isn’t perfect and blogs about them shouldn’t be either!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 1, 2015, 6:56 am

      Maddie, I can already tell that you’re going to be a kick-ass mama because you’re seeking out a realistic view of parenting to educate and prepare yourself. I mean, nothing can ever really prepare us for parenthood, let’s face it. Ha! This is what I would do: stay awake for three days straight, and then watch the movie “Cheaper By the Dozen” while eating bad fish. Then get your husband to headbutt you in the lip, throw up on you, and clear out your bank account. If you can survive all that, then you’re off to a good start. Ha ha ha ha! I’m kidding, I’m kidding. <3 <3

  • Steve May 1, 2015, 6:34 am

    Best post yet I think.
    It’s so true…but isn’t that what it’s all about? I think it’s what makes life so beautiful sometimes. I think that people just need to be more accepting of the fact that “perfect” people and relationships just don’t exist….you just hope that you connect with someone who can accept your flaws as part of the big picture. Probably more important is the ability to accept that we, ourselves, are not perfect. I feel badly for Andrew’s ex kind of…it’s gotta be pretty tough to walk around with all of that negativity inside. I’ve seen so many people that get so bitter over their broken relationships but what can you do? You just gotta move on…why let one event poison your life? It’s all about progress.

    Best line in post – “Blowing out another person’s flame doesn’t make ours shine any brighter.” Too true…people get all hung up on getting even or one upping someone else and they just end up feeling bitter.

    Hatred sucks….personal growth is cool.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 1, 2015, 6:49 am

      Steve, I think you nailed it when you said the most important thing is to accept that we ourselves are not perfect. We can’t love and forgive anyone else until we first love and forgive ourselves. It takes a strong person to take responsibility for our faults and then to make it right. It’s one of life’s great paradoxes: A man driving a huge monster truck has a small penis in the same way that it takes a person of towering personal strength to be humble.

      • Steve May 1, 2015, 7:03 am

        of course I am completely guilty of being a complete judgemental asshole to myself while letting other people off the hook…but I have high standards for me.

        • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 1, 2015, 7:09 am

          Yeah, we’re hard on ourselves more than we are others (hehe.. I said ‘hard on’).

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe May 1, 2015, 11:10 am

    I just so respect you and your approaches to these situations, and the fact that you speak on these topics with such deft hand. Even with as ridiculous as we both know that you are, you are truly a remarkable woman and mother. <3 <3

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 1, 2015, 11:50 am

      Well, I’ve just learned the hard way that honesty and integrity go a long way. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to stuff everything and pretend I’ve got my shit together and that it’s everyone else who has the problem, but when I react like that, I pretty quickly find myself standing alone in Loserville.

  • kristen May 2, 2015, 9:08 pm

    This is why you and I are friends. I value painful honesty over a fake happy show, too. My Netflix account would say differently, but in reality… give it to me straight! Yes, marriage, parenting, step-kids, and ex-spouses are HARD & I could not survive if I wasn’t honest with myself, my family and friends.
    Thank you for being honest and for being you. <3

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 3, 2015, 7:18 am

      Dude. Netflix is how we take breaks from our painful honesty. Sometimes we NEED to be an idiot! The high road of responsibility get get a little… long and lonely. And naturally, when I feel the need to be an idiot, you’re the first person I call. LOL! I love you. xoxo

  • Morgan @ Managing Mommyhood May 3, 2015, 6:59 am

    All of that will only make your marriage and your family stro NV er and closer. As a kid of divorce and remarriage, I can say that none of it will affect your children as long as you put on a good face. You’re doing great, just do what is right for you, your marriage, and your family.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 3, 2015, 7:14 am

      Thank you! I think I know what you mean when you say “put on a good face.” When I do that, I’m not being fake, I’m being kind and gracious. I know I’m not ever going to be best friends with Wendy (my stepkids’ mom) but I care about her as their mom, and honestly? I care about her as a person, and that won’t ever stop.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets May 3, 2015, 12:30 pm

    I love the honesty and raw vulnerability of this post, and your counselor is dead nuts. Everyone has skeletons, quirks, flaws, issues. I prefer to own them. Makes life real.

    I adore my furry friends and yet last week I stepped in cat vomit, bare foot.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com May 3, 2015, 12:39 pm

      Oh, I can’t count how many times I’ve stepped bare foot in cat puke. SO GROSS.

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