I pick the kids up from school on Mondays and Wednesdays because D is teaching a class those evenings. It has become something I look forward to as the kids are very talkative on the way home, and this is when I hear the most about their days/lives.
One interesting thing that has been happening recently is that they have been asking me a bunch of questions about my life. This prompted a conversation about my family and my childhood. This is always a difficult and delicate topic of discussion because it’s all adult themes: addiction, violence, crime, abuse, death, etc. Freya is new to the family so this is obviously all new to her. Jackson only has a very limited understanding of it himself. He has only met my mom and/or siblings a few times in his life, so he always has lots of questions about it as well.
I don’t lie to the kids ever, though I will withhold information if I think it is something they shouldn’t know yet, but I will typically explain that to them. Ultimately, I think it is good for them to understand that not every family is like our family. Not every kid is as lucky as they are. That some parents make bad choices that hurt themselves and their children; that these choices have life long and sometimes devastating consequences. I do tend to keep things pretty vague. They are too young for a detailed account. But they have responded well to what they have been told.
I will forever strive to make sure they always feel safe and loved, and I know their other parents do the same. These kids have a group of adults who love and adore them, which is exactly as it should be. (I am further comforted by the fact that when the next step-parent is introduced into the mix, it will be someone who feels the same, because the exes are top quality parents).
It’s weird though because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of those terrible experiences, which makes me think about whether I am a better person because of them or a good person in spite of them? What kind of person would I be if I had been lucky enough to have had a safe, loving, and nurturing childhood? It’s an interesting conundrum.