by Usapho Foundation
17 January 2019

"You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them." – Desmond Tutu

Fifteen years ago I wished I could choose my family. I wished I could change everything. Today I have three lovely siblings and three parents that love me more than I could ever wish for.
My journey as part of a blended family started at the age of ten, two years after my parents got divorced. My father, living alone at the time had a new girlfriend and my older sister and I were living with my mom. To be honest, it was very difficult. I was too young to fully grasp the concept of divorce and was not yet used to the idea of my parents not living together anymore. I loved both of my parents dearly and wished that everything could go back to normal, as most children of divorce do. Getting used to single-parent dinners and separate holidays was a challenge and then I had to add my father’s new girlfriend into the equation. Life was tough.

With time I became used to the new family. I wasn’t 100% okay with the situation per se, but, as with anything in life that you expose yourself to for a long enough period of time, it became the new norm. Between the family conflict, awkward transition into my teens and getting used to my father’s girlfriend (now wife), I received a (half) baby brother at the age of thirteen. I could see the love and joy that my half-brother brought the family, how happy my stepmom made my father and how we are starting to form our own blended family. It was starting to become a lot of fun. Three years after the birth of my brother, my stepmom gave birth to my third sibling, the baby girl of the family.

Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Through all the transitions, lessons and new family members, I have learned about life, love, patience and what it means to be a family. Being a part of a family does not mean that you have to be a part of the traditional mother-father and children group. As long as we have love, we are a family.