web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Multi-Generation Blended Family


Blended-Family-logo

Share Button

My family is once again in transition. We are in the processes of evolving from your basic “blended family” to a “multi-generational blended family household.” As is often the case for those of us in our forties (and approaching 50), we have begun a new chapter – the one commonly known as the “sandwich generation.” At this stage we are “sandwiched” between raising our young children, while at the same time trying to help our parents as they age. Since many of us started building our own families while we were quite young, we now find ourselves providing support (financial or otherwise) to adult and or married children and grandchildren while still having younger children at home.

On a personal level, our daily lives currently revolve around our five minor children and one adult child living at home, an adult daughter living away from home, a married daughter and her family who live a block away from us and her newest additions; and my parents who recently moved in with us. Thankfully, my parents are physically well and have each other and therefore able to have their own apartment. Somehow though it seems surreal that fifteen years after moving away from them, they are now living in an apartment attached to our home and have become part of our extended household.

Multi-generational families are making a comeback these days. For some the choice is made out of necessity because of the unstable economy, for others it is due to the physical needs of either the younger generation or aging parents. And then sometimes the decision to live this way is out of a mutual desire to be full and present participants in extended family life. For us it was a combination of factors that brought us to this point. For as long as I can remember, my parents have talked about being able to live in Israel. Fortunately I married a “doer,” a man who takes action, overcomes obstacles and makes thing happen. Since my parents had a clear wish to make aliyah when my mother decided to retire, my husband undertook the challenge of helping them realize this dream. This was no easy task. My parents were living in the US; we live in Israel, and embarked on a yearlong construction project to make it a reality. Since my husband and I are of the belief that Israel is the homeland of all Jews, and that as Jews it is our obligation to come “home”, we view helping our parents to attain this goal as part of our commitment to “honor” our parents.

In their decision to relocate to Israel my parents could have chosen to move to a city with greater amenities than the small settlement my family and I live in. They could have chosen a more “Anglo” neighborhood, surrounded by people who would better understand their culture, their language and their philosophies. They could have lived in a city or a retirement community with people closer to their age. However, a major motivation for my parents is their desire to get to know their grandchildren. My children and my brother’s children have lived far from my parents for most of their lives. Since my brother moved to Israel before his first child was born, my parents, for the most part, played the role of visiting or simcha grandparents. My older children, born during my first marriage, had a close relationship with my parents up until the time I re-married and re-located, after which we visited, phoned and e-mailed – but it just wasn’t the same as seeing them daily. My parents, now retired, understand the important position they can play in our children’s lives and I feel blessed by their desire to embrace that role.

Change is difficult at any age but especially when you are older; moving to a new country could prove to be overwhelming. From a logistical standpoint living in close proximity to family members who are looking out for your best interest makes that transition so much easier. I suggested that if moving to Israel was what my parents wanted, the best scenario for all of us would be for them to live here with us. Yes, it will be work for me to balance all of my personal responsibilities; my husband, children, parents, home, and community obligations, but they understood that living far from us would cause additional stress and that I would not be as available to assist them. I felt that they could be reasonably happy here and did not want a situation where I would feel torn between my husband and children’s needs and my parents.

What I failed to consider in this new arrangement was the emotional affect it would have on all of us. For an entire year my husband and I spent every waking hour and many restless nights dealing with some phase of the move. My family suffered through the challenges of construction while attempting to retain some semblance of normalcy in our active home. We were so busy that my husband and I honestly did not even have a chance to consider the emotional impact. To my surprise, in the early hours before my parent’s arrival, my husband suddenly turned to me and simply said “I guess starting tomorrow our lives will be changed forever.” It was at precisely that moment that I became conscious of the fact that we had never actually talked about all of the ramifications of this decision. We never weighed the pros and cons or discussed how our children were going to react or how this was going to affect us as a couple. What was it going to be like living with my parents after all of these years? It was then that I felt an overwhelming affection for this man I married; I understood that his entering into my life allowed me to be able to do this for my dear parents. One of the first things that drew me to my husband was his sense of knowing what was “right.” When he believes in something he uses all of his strength and his determination to follow through and make it happen.

As a blended family, this new stage we have entered into has had benefits beyond my wildest dreams. Seeing all of the children, including my stepson who lives with us, working together in a group effort to ease Grandma and Grandpa’s transition has been amazing. This is a life altering experience that we are all going through as a family and our connections, our relationships, are strengthened by these shared experiences. I look forward to sharing more of this story and its impact on our blended family.

Yehudit welcomes and encourages input and feedback on issues relating to the Blended Family and can be reached at blendedfamily@aol.com

Share Button

About the Author: Yehudit welcomes and encourages input and feedback on issues relating to the Blended Family and can be reached at blendedfamily@aol.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Multi-Generation Blended Family”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
HAS and El Al have ended their long-standing partnership.
Breaking: HAS Visa Points Now Worthless for El Al Flights
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

More Articles from Yehudit Levinson
Blended-Family-logo

This particular article has been on my computer for quite some time now – incomplete. What compelled me to complete it was my son’s 19th birthday. Born of my first marriage and raised solely by my husband and me for the past seventeen-plus years, my son has only a few memories of time spent with his biological father. My children have made me acutely aware of Parental Disconnect issues. I hope that sharing my thoughts on it will help save others from the pain and confusion we have had to work through.

Blended-Family-logo

Family court, visitation and child support are all unavoidable realities for divorced parents. One particular rule that would be wise to heed is that child support should be less about dollars and cents and more about dollar and “good” sense.

Journaling, putting your feelings down on paper, is a well known method of coping with difficult or traumatic experiences. In fact there have been studies done that seem to prove that people who “journal” live happier, healthier lives. In his book Writing to Heal, James Pennebaker, Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin, explores this concept. He stresses that when we write about trauma, emotional upheavals or difficult issues we are struggling with, the “heart rates slow, blood pressure drops and immune systems strengthen.”

In all honesty, I really do feel blessed. Interestingly though only someone in a family situation like mine could possibly comprehend this particular “blessing,” and many would not consider it a blessing at all. You see I feel fortunate to have not one, but two wonderful women in my life – both of whom happen to be my mothers-in-law, one from my first marriage and one from my second.

Recently a popular Jewish weekly magazine featured a story depicting the life of a young boy whose parents were divorced. Each parent had re-married, establishing new families. Their shared custody of this son, and he spent substantial time with each of his parent’s new families. Giving a voice to the child of divorce was the intention of the story. It highlighted the distress children feel as well as the confusing messages they often receive from the adults in their lives.

When an opportunity for a fresh start is handed to us, when that new door opens, it is often viewed as a gift from Hashem. In most cases in order to completely realize it, we must fully embrace it. For people transitioning into marriage the second time around this is often the reality they face: a new opportunity seldom comes without a price, without us having to, in some way, compromise the life we were accustomed to. Seamlessly blending “pre re-marriage” life with “post re-marriage, new blended family” life is difficult at best and often times takes many years to sort its’ way out.

It still amazes me how the Internet has completely changed our lives and how we view communication these days. My children hardly believe me when I tell them that there was a time when being in touch with someone, meant we actually saw them, spoke to them on the phone, or wrote them a letter and mailed it.

Sixteen years ago, when I married my husband, I did not give much thought to whether he was Askenazi or Sefardi. Having grown up in what was then a small close-knit Jewish community, it held little importance; my concerns were focused around whether or not my bashert (intended) was Jewish according to halacha, someone who was upstanding in both ideals and actions, and a man solidly committed to a Torah lifestyle.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/multi-generation-blended-family/2012/02/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: