{Shelly’s Story} The Beauty of the Blended Family

Posted on Posted in Embracing Family, Embracing Life, Embracing Parenting

During the month of October, The Real Wife Movementâ„¢ will be featuring stories from wives who have blended families. They will share what they did to ensure their families thrived beyond 10 years.

Be inspired by Shelly’s Story.

Blended family: a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships.

Shelly and Marc 1994
Shelly and Marc 1994

I was asked by my dear friend Tanya to write about my blended family of 26 years. I was glad to not only give my 2 cents, but any chance to talk about my family that I adore was awesome. There was only one problem, my husband and I never considered ourselves a blended family. Another dear friend told me to just tell my story as I see it.

I had a chunky little one-year-old when my husband and I met in 1990. I did not see my husband as a natural parent to my son initially, we had a few conversations about his “parenting style”. What I realized was, he was interjecting his own military upbringing. I decided to pull back and let him parent his way. I did not want him to feel like a glorified babysitter once we decided to live together, and later marry.

Marc and Ryan
Marc and Ryan

My husband and son created their own bond when I had to work or any other time they spent together. A couple years later we started our own family. When the baby was born we made sure Ryan knew he was a big brother and that was an important job. One baby turned into 2, 3 and 4 more. The philosophy in our house was the same, the work “step” did not exist. There was no distinction, “your child”, “my child”, “our children together”. That was my husband’s rule from day one, “what’s yours is mine”.
A few times the younger kids said anything about Ryan not being my husband’s son, my husband would quip, “I’ve been Ryan’s dad longer than any of you jokers!” Point taken by the younger ones.
My husband was at every parent teacher conference, doctor appointment, football game and track meet. He paid for saxophones, summer camp, and college. He taught Ryan to drive, shave and tie his shoes.

The Family Shelly, Nicolas, Ryan, Marc Jr., Donovan, Chenelle, Marc Sr.
The Family
Shelly, Nicolas, Ryan, Marc Jr., Donovan, Chenelle, Marc Sr.

Some say our family blended so cohesively because my son was so young. While that may be true to an extent, parenting as a unit is most important. Also, I retained my maiden name when I married, hyphenating my name so that Ryan would not feel different in that respect. Ryan is now 26, working on his PhD and loves his dad to pieces. Why? Because he was loved to pieces.


Shelly Brown-Rainey is the proud mom of 5 wonderful young adults, 4 of whom went to college. Her youngest is a Junior in high school. She and Marc have been married for 22 years.

Shelly is currently enrolled at Lynchburg General School of Nursing. She loves reading and vacationing with her husband.

48 thoughts on “{Shelly’s Story} The Beauty of the Blended Family

  1. Oh, what a great story. I loved reading it and like the part of no “step” in the household. They should be proud of themselves. A kid needs love, be it from a second parent or whatnot..they just want to be loved. 🙂

  2. Beautiful story! I am honored to personally know this family and I can truly say, every word written is true. They are one family united together in LOVE!!!

    1. Thank you Andrea for sharing that! I think the world needs to see that there are great blended families. I love that Ryan flourished but he didn’t have a choice, he has great parents…..

  3. I live every bit of this. As a person with my own blended family I find stories like these so encouraging. It most certainly is not easy but it is so doable and every one in the family is greater for it.

  4. Such a wonderful story of the blended family! I have a blended family as well, and love and commitment to family is everything! Applause to the Rainey’s for being one of the blueprint families!!

  5. Thank you to all that have posted comments thus far! We must all stick together, blended families, nuclear families, single parent families, extended families. It takes a village……..

  6. I love love love this story!!! But more importantly I love the family that was created to make this story. Shelly has been a dear friend of mine and has been like a sister to me to the point where I call her my sister. Seeing her family interact is such a joy. My husband and I have learned a lot from them on how to manage issues. Thank you for asking her to share her story and having this awesome blog! Be blessed!!

  7. What an awesome story. I’m glad that she stepped aside and let her husband parent the way he was brought up. Going from a single parent doing everything alone, to sharing that responsibility, it is hard to let go and let someone else help you.
    Great story. Loved it!

  8. I have known Shelly since 2009 and knew from the first day she mentioned any one of her family members, at the way her face lit up, that she was a fantastic parent. And she treats her friends and co-workers with the love and respect she evidently was taught by loving parents! And because she and Marc are loving parents, then this will pass on to their children, also. They are role models for our society!

  9. What a great story on a true blended family. My dad did the same with my sister…he always called her his daughter she was never a step-daughter and she knew my father before I did!

  10. Amazing family. Amazing life story. Continue being an inspiration to your children and family/friends. God continue to bless.

  11. Love your success story! It is beautiful how love really does conquer ALL! It’s SO important to spread the message of love and how in complicated family units there is hope! Thanks so very much for sharing!

  12. This is a beautiful story and your friend is so blessed. I love that he would tell the other kids I’ve been his dad longer than I’ve been yours lol! So sweet and definitely true!

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