Blending Families: Merging Households with Kids 8-18
My own blended family journey began when my mother, Fredi married Howard Stevenson 25 years ago. My mom brought 4 daughters ages 32-22 years old to the marriage while Howard brought 3 sons ages 22-16. The typical comment we hear is still “It sounds like the Brady Bunch!”
Now that the holiday season is upon us, we feel the pressure and pleasure of selecting and receiving gifts from those close to us. Gifts are social glue. Gifts can draw us closer to one another or possibly push the receiver away. Gifts have an emotional component that we often overlook or even marginalize.
In our closest relationships we long to be known, seen, heard and safe. When we give a gift to someone close to us, we try to imagine what that person would want and what would make him/her happy. When we give a gift that communicates that we have thought about and been attuned to our loved one, we tell that person he/she is seen. Our gift shows that we have the “felt sense” of who he or she is.
By felt sense, I mean love. This is the experience of feeling that we exist in the heart mind and soul of our other. A gift can have a profound impact on our loved one by showing that we have that person embedded deeply in our conscious. Your gift shows that you KNOW him or her. You care how they feel. You feel joy when your gift is something that makes that person smile with pleasure.
There is a double joy of giving a well thought out and emotionally connected gift. We feel the joy our loved one feels. We have the felt sense of the impact of our loving and thoughtful gift has on our loved one. This seems simple but it is a profoundly reciprocal process that each of us yearns for. To be known and loved.
When we get it right we know it.
Ultimately we are wired to be together, to feel that we are not alone. We want to be safe and connected. When we give gifts that show we know and are attuned to the needs and desires of our loved one, we are communicating that those close to us are important to us.