I belong to a blended family; yes, I looked it up. Most of friends are aware of my Dad, my Mom, my sister and my niece (my sister’s daughter), and that my parents are divorced and remarried. When I talk about my sister, most of them know who I’m talking about. But some of my newer friends and acquaintances might ask whether I’m talking about my sister in Saskatoon or my sister on the west coast. When I talk about my brother, my older friends might ask who I’m even talking about.
I refer to my stepmom and stepdad each by their first name, and I have decided to refer to my stepsiblings as my siblings. Certainly the relationships are different, but not so different that I need to use different kinds of words for them. My oldest sister is married and has stepdaughters, so I don’t know if that makes them stepnieces, and my stepmom has her family, so I don’t know if they’re stepcousins and step-aunts and -uncles, but all of these people have first names, so I can just call them by their names.
I don’t know that I had a real point here, but I think it’s interesting how attached we are sometimes to the definition of family, and perhaps how awkward it is when that definition changes. Again, for some of my friends, I have a somewhat nuclear family, but for me, it’s become nothing of the kind. And even though I have a tough time being around a lot of people for any significant period of time, I sincerely love my family no matter how extended and non-traditional it gets.
On a sidenote, when I looked for “blended family” images on gettyimages.ca, they mostly included images of similar-looking people drinking smoothies.