Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In My 20s Tuesday + Post-It Notes: The New Types of Families Aren't Readily Accepted By Some Elders

***In My 20s Tuesday is all about things that should matter (maybe) to someone in their 20s. It's about life as we head into real adulthood. It's about laying the groundwork for a life: starting a career, setting up a home, starting a life with someone, etc. It's about things that will affect our lives down the road: politics, current events, pop culture, etc. Well, it's not about all those things at once (that'd be near impossible, lol). But hopefully it will reach someone in their 20s who's looking for someone to feel them and what they're going through.***

This post came to me through a discussion I had with my grandfather over the weekend. I was with my parents, my paternal aunt and cousin, and my paternal grandfather down in South Carolina for my cousin's graduation from high school. It was a lovely experience and we got to spend a lot of time with our each other. We were all grateful for that time since we're spread out between Chicago, Myrtle Beach, and Washington, D.C.

One evening, we went to dinner at Ruth's Chris. That is definitely one of my favorite places to eat. They have a New York Strip Steak with a bleu cheese crust that is my absolute favorite steak on the planet (so far). But I digress.

At dinner, my grandfather and I got into a discussion. I won't go into details because it will make him sound incredibly bigoted (which he might be) and incredibly ignorant (which I'd like to blame on his age and reclusiveness). But he was speaking of his desire to have great-grand children. I told him that with my brother getting married next summer and me seeing someone with a child, he might get his wish sooner than later.

He first expressed his doubt that my brother would actually get married. He felt that such a long engagement didn't bode well for actually ending up married. We had to explain to him that people more likely are engaged for a year plus these days because it takes that long to plan a nice wedding. And my brother's wedding will likely be huge. I'm talking at least 600 people, so having a 18 month engagement is smart for planning and finances.
Then he turned on PT's daughter. He expressed that she would not count as his great-grand-daughter because she's not blood. I was incredibly shocked and didn't know immediately how to react. Then I told him he was going to be sorely disappointed because I also intend on adopting. So if I end up with PT, at least half our kids wouldn't be "blood relatives" of his. My mother, father, aunt, and cousin all told him he'd be the only one who wouldn't readily accept the little girl into the family and he ought to be ashamed. He said he preferred a more traditional family and I told him he shouldn't be surprised that I will not let him near any of my children.

Whether or not I end up with PT is a while from being decided, but I'm so glad I brought it up because I now know how he truly feels about such things. With or without PT, I intend to adopt. It'd certainly be an easier thing to make happen because he's already into the idea of adoption. His brother is adopted. But now that I know my future adopted children will be treated worse than those I give birth to by my grandfather, I know better than to try and have them develop a relationship with them. He's in his mid-80s and I don't know if he'll even be around long enough to wonder why he's not allowed around my children. But I do know that the thought of worrying about a complex he may give my future children gives me pause.

I know that older people are stuck in their ways, but damn! With all the blended families out there, I wonder how difficult it becomes for people who have to deal with other family members who believe in a more traditional family. It's disheartening and a couple of other things I'll not write because it's too disrespectful.

5 New Hypotheses:

Hey CeCe -- Unfortunately, there are a lot more people out there with this opinion than you think. Don't let this deter you. I've struggled with how my husband has been told by his mother he has to deal with his step-family (her husband's family).

While growing up, he called them cousins, aunts and grandparents, now as an adult, he is not allowed to interact with them because they are not his "real" family.

The fact that they are a different race than him seems to solidify his mother's opinion that there is no reason for him to relate with these people, even though THEY consider him part of the family.

In order to keep his mother happy, we have not attended many events that we have been invited to. It's sad to have to "lose family" over this.


Oh wow, I can't imagine that. To have to not even attend family gatherings must be horrible! I wonder if her husband knew she would ignore his entire family after they got married...

I suppose it would be easier for me because I don't see my grandfather very often, so there wouldn't be too many missed opportunities. But I think my family would understand if I chose to not be around him rather than leave half my children behind.


I'm pretty lucky in regards to family - we aren't going to have kids and nobody in my family has ever made any kind of peep about it (even my mom-in-law).

Your grandpa should know that *every* child deserves a loving home, that it takes a whole lot more than giving birth to be a true mom to a child.

Also, baked tomato at Ruth's Chris - OMG, so good!


Hi again -- I think my best advice for you is to not fight the battle of words with your grandfather. You are unlikely to win that. (We have lost with my mother-in-law). Instead, we decided what was best for our children, and made decisions based on that. We wanted their grandmother in their lives more than we needed my husband's extended step-family. It was a trade-off.


@Kerri&Shaun: You are lucky indeed about that. You may have hit the family jackpot in terms of being free to make decisions about your life without having to suffer their wrath.
Also, I've never tried the baked tomatoes, but I will next time I go to a Ruth's Chris.

@ Kristen T.: I believe you are right. Trying to convince him that his principles are wrong isn't going to work. I don't intend to have this convo with him again. I'll cross that bridge the day I marry someone with a child or sign adoption papers.

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