Who’s in YOUR extended family?

Who’s in your extended family? How often do you see them? Who can you call when you’re in a pinch? Most families are spread far and wide these days, so when you need a parent, sibling, grandmother or grandfather to step in, you’re out of luck.

But sometimes, the two linked households after a divorce and remarriage fill that function and it can be such a relief.

On Sunday night, I got a very calm call from my ex-husband David from the emergency room. He had cut his hand with a chainsaw (the very phrase makes me feel queasy) pretty badly, but was doing alright after two shots of morphine. I could hear Carol and Jacob (their four year-old) in the background. Since they live about an hour away from Austin, they needed to know if it was okay for Carol and Jacob to come over and hang out while they stitched up David’s hand (nerves, tendons and muscles had been severed).

Of course it was — they’ve killed time here before while in town. I told David I was willing to do whatever they needed, whether that was watch Jacob, have him spend the night, make dinner, whatever….

Carol and Jacob  opted instead to wait at the hospital, since they didn’t know how long it was going to take. I got a report before they left for home and was happy to hear that David had the most positive prognosis possible (trying saying that really fast three times), given that type of injury: no loss of mobility — only permanent numbness from half his pinky finger on up and perhaps the inability to stick his pinky finger out sideways.

“How’re you going to properly drink tea from now on?” I teased him.

Now imagine what this whole situation might have been like if we hadn’t all gotten along. No easy place for Jacob to stay and go to sleep, if need be. The stress of a strained phone call, where I’d be asked to pass along information to our daughters  — or even the lack of a phone call altogether.

As it was, I was one of the first people they called because our little dual-family dynamic means that we operate as each other’s extended families.

I’m incredibly grateful for this….

In other blog-related news, there’s an interesting discussion about the relationship with the ex-wife going on over at a cool new find, Stepmum of the Year. Check it out!

(Sorry for the picture-less posts – haven’t been able to upload an image to WordPress for the last three weeks! Any advice appreciated.)

© 2010 Jennifer Newcomb Marine         All Rights Reserved


  1. Hey, thanks so much for the link! I love your thoughtful discussions here – the comments are often almost a blog unto themselves.

    And thanks too for providing me with the helpful guidance I need as I embark on an “actual” relationship with my partner’s ex-wife.

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    I have a similar extended family. And while no one has been involved with a chain saw recently (DH lost his finger years ago to a table saw), we’re there for each other.


  3. Hi Jennifer – I left a blog award for you on my blog =)

  4. Wow. I wonder if I will ever have that kind of relationship with my man’s EX!

  5. It is great that you all get along and they felt comfortable calling you in a difficult time. It must have been a relief for them to know that you were willing to help however you could.

  6. I could never have that kind of relationship with my husband’s ex-wife because she is…. a pill. But, my ex is wonderful and has been known on many occasions to take not only our two girls on outings but my step daughter as well. In fact, every Friday night my girls go to their dad’s for dinner and shopping or a movie and he often takes my step daughter as well.

  7. Te're Melrose says:

    Awesome blogging, and story which I really enjoyed seeing on Dr Phil. I am not divorced etc so can’t relate to this as such but I can relate to family issues. My husbands family hates me, and I hate them. I have felt so much grief over the years and now I just refuse to see them because they have turned on me so many times and I have a very shy personality and back away from conflict. Family dynamics can suck. Congratulations for being so mature and putting your kids in the centre.

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