I just got back from a family wedding in Napa Valley.
The usual wine pairings at dinner with locally-sourced food, and everyone done up in smashing clothes. But the best part of the weekend was re-connecting with my blended family.
I had great conversations with my former sister-in-law, a nice talk with my husband's ex-wife, who is kind, smart and beautiful. And lots of fun with my step-daughter's (the bride's) cousins, aunt, uncles and friends.
As we age in a culture of divorce and remarriage, we are bound to interact with people we never intended to meet. They come into our lives as a surprise, bringing new perspectives, even different cultures. We are lucky to have these connections. And with maturity, we can appreciate our blended family in ways we never could when we were younger.
Yes, we may have regrets, we may wish we could avoid being uncomfortable in situations that make a lot of us uneasy. But when we realize we have more in common (our children, the partners we once loved) than we have issues that divide us, we can come together as a stronger, better family. We all benefit.
I'm grateful for each member of my blended, extended family. Each person enriches me, and reminds me that the maturity to accept what is, is another one of the great gifts of aging.