Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One Big Happy Family

Being part of a huge blended family means that people tend to only see you that way: one big family of 12. Sometimes it feels like we've lost our identity as a nuclear family of five (or seven, in Amy's case). And while it's wonderful to be part of such a warm and loving group, its not ultimately what defines us.

Because of our branding as "that crazy Lutz/Fisher/Murphy family," no one ever invites us anywhere. I think many people assume that inviting one of us means inviting all of us, though of course we don't feel that way. There have been times that Amy and her brood have gone to parties or dinners at friends' homes that we haven't been invited to, and this coming Friday, in fact, Matty and I and the kids are having dinner at the home of one of Ronan's friends. But these outings are few and far between. We're much more likely to host our friends at our house.

It makes sense; there are a lot of us and we have a big house, so inviting another family over doesn't really put us out. And I realize that most people would feel slightly claustrophobic inviting four more adults and eight kids into their home.

But I hope our friends know that though we live as one big happy family, we're really two separate families that try to maintain our single family relationships. We try to schedule individual family outings on Sundays, and sometimes even leave all the kids with a sitter so two separate couples can go out with two separate sets of friends.

We've tried hard to instill in our kids the distinction between sibling and cousin, parent and aunt/uncle, and it seems to be working, as we've written about here . Now if only we could get everyone else to see the same distinction.

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