Dear Parents,

I was going to share these thoughts at our wedding next week but they need more space and a wider audience.

We have been a blended family since before the term was invented. Mum and Dad, you were divorced in the seventies and everyone can look back on that decision and appreciate it was absolutely the right call. It’s kind of weird to imagine you two together as a couple. But then I often think about some of the people I hooked up with when I was younger and the thought of still being with them now is pretty funny. In fact, I have an ex (no prizes for guessing which one) to whom I’d gladly wield a tomahawk if forced into a mutual social setting.

Ian and Sue, there has never been a time in my life when you weren’t there. You have always been my parents, Shane’s parents. Let’s not get into the unpacking of the timeline of events that led to your respective marriages to Mum and Dad, but let’s just say, the seventies were a vibe.

I can’t count the number of times people have commented to me about my magical family over the years. Friends and newcomers to the scene are always blown away by the dynamic that exists. All four parents, their collective five adult children, their respective partners and eight grandchildren, all sharing space and time together when the occasion (often) calls for it. From the outside it looks joyful and loving and for the most part it is. “It looks so easy! I wish my family were like that…”

But we Gibsons know the truth. It’s not always so easy. And here is what I want to acknowledge with the four of you:

Making it work, is work. Sometimes it’s emotionally laborious work. Because honestly, I couldn’t think of four more different people. Or two more different couples. Whilst you share some common day to day interests, in reality your lives look very different.

I can’t imagine negotiating this new kind of family life back in the day would have been easy, especially without any modelling whatsoever. Not to mention, the actual messiness of a marriage ending. Hurt would have occurred on both sides and I want to thank you for not sharing all of that with us, even as adults. This must have taken, and I suspect still takes integrity, kindness, forgiveness and selflessness.

I’m not sure there was an actual discussion about your common values way back then, however, I think there might have been a big one that you all shared, even then.

Family is everything. Over and over again you have all prioritised the needs of your family over yourselves. You have supported us in our decisions, our finances, our child rearing (ok you got off lightly with me), our disasters, our work, our health and our relationships.

And we know that, as your very large children, we sometimes get it wrong. Love is not measured out in coffee spoons like T.S. Eliot suggested life was, but it sometimes must feel like it is. When it seems we have favoured one parent or couple over the other. When we have forgotten to include you in something very important. When our choices reflect those of our adult lives and partnerships rather than what we may have chosen when we were younger and more dependent on you. And that must hurt sometimes.

We know how hard it must be to take that hurt on the chin. But for the most part you do, because, after all, family is everything.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, the four of you got together for a coffee, or more likely a wine. I don’t know what was discussed exactly and I don’t care. To me, this made me feel more loved than almost anything else that happened at the time. It was an expression of the most important thing that you have taught me about love and family. We are bigger than the sum of our parts.

I am blessed to have the wisdom and love of four, completely different mentors. I know I mess up a lot of the time – sometimes it feels unavoidable. I stress about it a lot – making sure you all feel the love that I feel from you. But, you are loved. Each of you. For what you each give to me. And you are also loved as a group, for what you have shown us all over these many years.


Sign up to receive instant updates when a new post is written

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

8 thoughts on “Dear Parents

  1. This is a lovely post Kristie. I am one of those people who have marvelled over your blended family and how well it seems to work. I will be forever grateful to all of your parents for creating and raising you.

    I am looking forward to being a visitor amongst your family again in a few days. Xx

  2. You touch my heart with every thought you share. The love and care that you have received are reflected in you as an individual who cares deeply and passionately. I am looking forward to reading several more posts from you although it is an emotional rollercoaster to read them. Have a wonderful wedding. Love you both.

  3. Paula Buttigieg says:

    What a beautiful and important message to share Kristie. You are the product of these amazing people, and they are all super proud of you I bet!! Have a magical wedding – We will be thinking of you both. Lots of love, Paula & Nicko xx

  4. Peter O'Connor says:

    Hi Kristie, “Dear Parents” was passed on to us via the Gibson network, which we all know is greater than Optus (with less security)! We just wanted to say what a fascinating read it was. We loved it. No doubt it was a cathartic write too.
    I’m not sure what the collective term for a group of Gibson’s is, but having the pleasure of exposure to all sides, for a long long time, we’re going with “a Kindness.”
    The Seventies are an explanation for many things: some magical, some mysterious and some just WTF moments. I think when you went from two parents to four parents we remember it as all of the above. But (many) years latter we just see it as magical! It takes a special group of people to make that work with so much love and respect on all sides. It also takes a special group of people to produce two wonderful families who have grown together as quality individuals.
    We can only wish you well and hope the power of the universe is with you in your fight. The one thing we are sure of, being surrounded by “a Kindness of Gibson’s” is an earthly benefit.
    Lots of love from Peter and Terry.❤️❤️

  5. Dear Kristie

    Being an immigrant mother having my parents overseas your words really touched my heart. It is beautiful piece that emphasizes the many colored of a family.

    I wish you to celebrate with your loved one this weekend, embrace the moment of you all.

    Mazal Tov


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>