Growing Up in a Blended Family Inspired My Research

I had the best of many worlds.

Yes growing up with divorced parents and a step-dad can be hard on children. But, my experience was the spark that ignited a curious spirit. I could learn about the roots of my family in the south and the history of my step-dad’s life on the east coast.

Exchanging Stories

I took full advantage of accessing the knowledge of all of my parents, which gave me a really well-rounded approach to research and writing throughout my education. It also created in me an understanding that the world isn’t always concrete, and that appearances aren’t always as they seem.

I remember how we used to tell stories during summer rain storms and feeling like I was really blessed to know so much of the history of the people around me.  I would write these stories in my journal, and have recounted some of those memories later in my own creative writing later in life.

Learning to Travel

Growing up blended, also taught me a lot about how to travel. My sister and I traveled a lot during those times. We would visit my father at his house every other weekend or so, sure. But we also traveled a lot as a family to visit my Grandmother in the south, or to go on family vacations.

Once, we went on a vacation to upstate New York to visit my step-father’s family and to see Niagara Falls. As we drove there from Indiana, I remember watching the scenery change and listening to different accents and dialects. We visited historical sites and finally arrived at Niagara Falls, where I was almost blown away because I was such a small, thin child.  But, it didn’t stop me from running up to rails and holding on to my mom and step-dad for dear life!

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the spark that ignited a curious spirit

Staying curious

If there’s one thing I truly remember from my blended family it’s to stay curious. I was encouraged to be open to change, because life did change quite rapidly, and to be open to new people and experience. 

I was also taught that family is only as far as the next road trip, or overnight stay, or, in today’s case, flight home.  Some people get really homesick when they leave home, and I have had my fair share of homesickness, too. But what I remember from my life, is that home is always within yourself. 

So, yes, growing up in a blended family taught me some practical skills about traveling and engaging in other cultures.  But it also began and encouraged my thirst for new frontiers, knowing that my family is right where I need them: in my heart.