I've never been much of an artist. I appreciate art and recognize a talent in others that does not exist in myself. I am aware that most artwork involves some amount of blending. There is true genius in the eye that can catch the subtle differences in shades of green which allow the artist to create a tree that actually looks like a tree.
I stay away from actually pursuing such talent on my own. I have been accused of being unable to blend my own makeup and am sure that I have been seen with that tell-tell line around my chin because I couldn't blend. My mother didn't care for makeup and my relationship with my older sister was not one where I would rely on her for advice - she would have ensured a clownish look just for spite. But because I had a blotchy, pale face, not wearing makeup was not an option. I guess I would rather have the chin line rather than expose my freckled self to my high school peers.
I have been attempting another type of blending for the past 7 years. Neil and I are in a second marriage for us both. We each brought two children along for the ride along with a lot of baggage. Personally, I could do without his baggage. They say women over pack, but in this case, I'm the one with the overnight bag while he has the 7-piece luggage set with garment bag. I realize that for the most part, this is not his fault. My ex-husband allowed me to slip away with my two boys and live a new life with little interference. While I am sometimes saddened that my boys do not have a better relationship with their father, the reality is that my life is much easier because of it. He sends a monthly child support check while I get to make all the decisions. Honestly, it's not much different from when we were married.
Neil on the other hand has an ex-wife who is angry and bitter. She hates me simply because I exist. I have been accused of a number of things and labeled as white trash. I do not take any of this personally because she doesn't actually know me. Seriously. We've technically never met. Oh, I've seen her at a few of the children's events, but I'm sure she could never pick me out of a crowd even if I was the only woman there. However, she does everything she can to influence the children to hate both me and Neil. And though I try not to take things personally, it still hurts that they would repeat the things she says when they are angry or upset. It is easy to keep my mouth shut and not retaliate towards them. I know, after all, that they are just words. It is much harder to not have made-up scenes repeat themselves in my head whenever I have down time. Often I am in a court setting banishing the evil ex-wife out of our lives with my quick wit and logical arguments. She can only sit in humiliation as she has no wit or logic.
The hardest part in all of this is how it affects the rest of the family. It seems so unfair that the hateful venom of a woman who should have no part of my children's existence, can cause their father to become so tense that he lashes out at home because he cannot lash out at her. For my two boys who have no real dad to speak of, Neil is supposed to be their protector and example. Instead, he becomes an attacker and it divides our family. I want to love and support him as a faithful wife should. Yet, my children are just children. They do not have the maturity and understanding that I have as an adult to recognize that his actions are actually reactions and need to be forgiven rather than resented. So I must protect them from him and try to explain that this isn't who he really is.
At church during Sacrament Meeting, the high councilman speaking was talking about how we are often faced with challenges which lead us to plead for them to be taken away. The trial is more than we can bear. I have contemplated numerous times how much easier it would be to just walk away from his children. After all, they are the ones who claim they don't want to come or want to go back to their mom's house when they don't get what they want here. Give them what they want. Terminate parenthood and just let us be happy with our little family that remains. But I realize that it would not truly be happiness. Regardless of Neil's actions, I know that he truly loves his children - all of them, even mine who are his by sealing if not by blood. I could not ask him to give up Alyx and Derek even though it seems it would make life easier, nor do I want them to disappear from our lives. My hope is that as they grow older and mature, they will recognize our love for them as sincere regardless of the vile ramblings their mother may spew.
I guess an artist would say that you don't use all the colors of the palette to get the shade you want, but each color used is vital if you want your work to capture reality. Reality is that blending a family is not easy, but each individual is crucial for the picture to be complete.