Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blending the Family: Shelby’s Confused.

I am sure all mothers love their children, but I think I love this girl more than anyone could possibly love. So, when she is confused it makes me sad and I am a fixer, so it makes me want to fix it now.

I think anyone can expect a nine year old girl to have some questions and some adjustment especially when it is her mother who recently got remarried. In many ways the change is much harder then when Gweedo got married. At the same time though we are blessed that Shelby and JAG have had the best relationship from the start – that has made things easy.

Lately we have had many discussions about last names, proper names and love.

First, Shelby pondered the idea of calling JAG “Dad.” This was a touchy subject or at least I thought it would be. I advised her to call JAG by his real name, not Dad or any form of Dad. Not because JAG isn’t going to be an awesome father, but because Shelby has a father. Also, I have to admit because Shelby’s mother- that would be me – had a fit and a half when there were discussions about Gweedo’s new wife being called “mom.” I live by the principle that there is one mother and one father. You can have step parents, but your mom is your mom and your dad is your dad until there is a mutual agreement for that relationship to no longer be – are you following me? JAG fully understood – thought you should know.

Now we are dealing with last names. Shelby has in her mind that her last name needs to change now that mine did. In her world, though, she doesn’t want to change her name she just wants to add another and take on my maiden name as well. Yes, she would like to have four names that she has to write on everything.

Monday morning before we walked out the door for school she was really concerned. She came to me and said “Mom in the fourth grade we have to write our first and last names on everything. Do I use my old last name or my new last name?”

We reminded her again that her last name has not changed. Poor girl. She wants it to change, but she doesn’t understand that there are reasons why she can’t just take on a new last name. First, it would hurt some people. She is part of a family – actually she is party of two families – Mine and His (Gweedo). I am going to be a woman about it and take the high road to say that it would hurt Gweedo and his family if Shelby up and changed her name. Secondly, the child does not have a grasp (as many nine year olds probably don’t) on the legality and cost of changing your name. You can’t just say “my name is…” and like magic it is done. It takes a judge, a lawyer, a subpoena, a court hearing and a loving filing fee.

Then this morning as we got in the car Shelby asked, “Do I need to tell JAG I love him?” My response is “If you do love him, then you can tell him you love him. If you don’t love him then you don’t have to tell him you love him.” My poor daughter’s response “Daddy makes me tell Julie I love her.” I told my daughter as I would tell any child of mine that I will not make them express their love to anyone if they do not want to do so. I think it is a personal thing. I think it is something that takes time. I do believe Shelby loves JAG and I know JAG loves Shelby, but I don’t think that I will hear her say “I love you” as she walks out the door each morning. Some days she rolls her eyes when she says “I love you too” to me.

I think everything will take time to work through. Mostly importantly above anything else is Shelby knowing she is loved. The girl just added another gaggle of family to her tree and has really felt the love this past weekend. Above anything else – I want her happy.

After typing this I am not sure how it will come across. I hope that readers understand my side on names, love and name changes. Also, just so you know Shelby calls JAG by his really name, not JAG – just fyi. Also, I am sure that Shelby loves her stepmother as well, but may not feel comfortable expressing it yet.

Also, if you had not noticed – Shelby was a zombie cheerleader. The fact that she was a Cowboys Zombie Cheerleader was laughable given the season we are having.


  1. Bless her heart... its gotta be hard for her to keep it all straight... but I'm sure time will work wonders.

    It made me gasp & sad for her to think she HAS to tell someone she loves them. I think that would make her step-mom sad too... I wouldnt want anyone saying that to me out of force...

    She'll be old enough soon where she wont be forced to say or not say anything :)

    Hang in there during the "Meshing" - it'll work out!

  2. I loved this post...and love your parenting style!


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