When Mom and Dad got a divorce, it was probably the friendliest divorce on the planet.
Growing up in a blended family has been an experience that today has shaped us to who we are. Being twins is a special thing, but having that honour of growing up with 1 mother and 2 fathers has been a beautiful journey.
We were raised in Malaysia by our mom, dad (who has raised us since we were babies), and our maternal grandparents. Growing up, Mom and Dad never made us feel like we were extra unique – we always felt loved and accepted within our family with no questions asked. We were not taught to feel that different from others, but just to be good kids and good to our elders.
Then when Mom and Dad got a divorce, it was probably the friendliest divorce on the planet, so friendly that we didn't even know they did it. Next thing we know at the age of 10, Mom had decided to remarry, to our Papa in Australia. She seamlessly brought us into the equation, and all we asked was, “How about Dad?” She said, “He's okay, but how we both love you isn't going to change. And you now have to learn to love your Papa too.”
That's what we love our mom for – we never felt it was a messy split or there was turmoil. It was as smooth as it can be. Then at age 12, we moved to Australia with her for our education. Leaving Dad for 9 months was heartbreaking, and we were so homesick the first year. But the beauty of our mom was that she never ever had a bad word to say about our dad. She made us love him more to the ends of the earth, and she said regardless of how we came into the world, we both had parents that wanted us and loved us, and that's the most important thing. The next beautiful thing was that our Papa took us as his own children and gave us such a wonderful upbringing during our high school and university years.
Through it all, there was vile gossip from family members and family friends who couldn't understand our situation. Divorce was a taboo still back in the early 90s, and our mom got the brunt of it. But we stuck together as a family through it all, and we are all so close. Dad and Papa have been best friends for over 25 years! They go to pasar malams together, drink together, and Papa teaches Dad how to fix things around the house. Both of them walked us down the aisle at our respective weddings, and during our tea ceremonies, all 3 parents sat together as we honoured them.
The moral of the story is that patience and an open mind can create a family so close, so strong and filled with so much love that nothing or no one can break it. A blended family is as beautiful as a nuclear family. Through our trials and tribulations, broken relationships, loss of work contracts, bad friendships etc., we’ve always had our 3 parents there for each of us through thick and thin. How grateful we are for all of them! We appreciate all the lessons they have taught us.
So today, as we both embark on our own lives as wives, mothers, and hopefully a mother-to-be, we pass this same teaching on to the next generation. That love comes in all shapes and forms, regardless of race, religion, status, or family structure.
Thank you Mommy, Daddy and Papi for making us both who we are today.
May and Choy Wan