Summer Transitions for Our Blended Family

Summer Transitions for Our Blended Family
Siblings marching in to Fall

August signals the end of summer, school is on the horizon and college football is almost here (hallelujah!). I love summer, and this one has gone too fast, but fall is by far my favorite season. As much as I love the new season on the horizon, like the seasons themselves, this means many changes for our blended family.

In the summer, we are a family of five. We are complete. Becoming complete, however, does not come without challenges. The first few days when C comes home in June are always hard. His brother and sister are overly excited about their big brother being home and he is suddenly part of a family again. A large, loud family, with a daily routine he hasn’t been a part of for most of the school year.

It is overwhelming for everyone involved. There are mixed and heightened emotions, the dynamics have changed, and we always go through an adjustment/transition period for the entire family.

I notice this not only with the kids, but in my marriage. Blended families are not easy, and they are even harder when co-parenting does not exist, because we have no idea what has shaped our son. But over many years, you learn you can only control, what you can control. Ultimately summer means our party of five is back in action and we all love having C back in Charleston.

August comes too quickly each year, and this means my bonus son heads back to North Carolina, back to school and his other home. It often seems like just when we have all settled in to the party of five routine, when we have all found a rhythm, the summer comes to an end. As it winds down, and back to school prep begins, there is so much more our family must prepare for in the fall.

It’s difficult to explain to a two and three-year-old why their brother must go away. This is never an easy transition. Last summer my husband and I thought we were making things simple by explaining to C’s little brother that C had to go away to school, because explaining why his older brother had a different mother seemed complicated for a then two-year-old to understand…until it was time for preschool. He thought 2K meant we were “sending him away”, because school is when you go away. OOOF! We should have seen that coming! Lessons learned, and as this fall approaches, we are more prepared to explain the change to his younger sister.

I’d like to think that as time goes on this will get easier…but is letting a child go ever easy?

Each year C’s siblings become more aware and curious about why and where their big brother goes at times. Sure, we see him during the school year, but it’s always so short – a weekend or holiday, never really giving anyone time to adjust or be themselves. Our daily lives and routines seem very separate outside of summer. And I know, as much as he misses us, he will be happy to be back with his mom, to not have two toddlers climbing all over him every second, and excited to see his school friends up north.

So yes, by the time the thick August humidity and high heat rolls around in the Lowcountry, I long for the cooler weather, evening walks, and Saturdays filled with yelling “Go Dawgs”…but I also know I will miss the sweet summer days of five.

At least until next June…


  1. This is such a fantastic perspective that I hadn’t really given much thought to before as the custodial parent of my older children (now adults).

    Thank you for sharing this as I’m sure it will help other co-parenting families realize that there are real people and often half-siblings on ‘the other side’ with real feelings and that it’s a difficult transition sometimes for EVERYONE involved.

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