Today is a special day. Today is the first anniversary of the day that we did not become Carol, Mike, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy. (For one thing, to get that count, we’d have to include both cats and at least one appliance.)
Some people who read In Pursuit of Martha Points and don’t know me personally may not be aware that we are a blended family. Himself and I have been together for nearly 6 years, although we only officially got hitched a year ago today. Each of our kids has another parent nearby with whom they spend half their time and who love and adore them as much as we do. We don’t forget that, we don’t ignore it. It’s just that when we’re all together in our love and laughter filled house, there is completeness and so it doesn’t enter my conscious thinking that often any longer when talking about my family. In fact, people who meet us often only realize it if they hear one of the kids call their respective step-parent by name.
Trivia Fact: Himself and I met on match.com. We love telling people that, it sounds so geeky, which, of course, we are. After emailing and chatting on the phone for a few weeks we met for coffee, which turned into dinner, which turned into a few more dates, which turned into serious dating, which turned into meeting each others’ kids, which turned into introducing the kids to one another, and they rest, as they say, is history.
The above shot is the girl, Child C, giving a testimonial during the ceremony that had us all alternatingly in stitches and in tears. She has a gift with words, that girl does, and she shares her gift freely and lovingly.
An example of Lori and her OCD (which we all think is part of her charm, right? good.): we rented a house together after Himself and I had been together just over a year and things started to look pretty good. But we needed to see how this whole “blended family” thing was going to go. It turned out that the hardest adjustment was probably mine. I had always been part of small families, and all of a sudden a house (a smallish house, too) full of five people and a cat seemed to rival a commercial construction site for noise. And my fairly anal-retentive orderly and organized approach to homemaking was instantly undone by three kids. (For the record, three kids is NOT 1 kid X 3. It is 3 kids X 3. Kids-cubed, you might say.) So, being the anal-retentive resourceful woman that I am, I decided that I just needed the right tools. So I ordered a book called “Step-Coupling.” This was without question the best purchase I have ever made. This book taught me everything I needed to know about all the problems we absolutely didn’t have, but other people apparently did, which taught me a lesson in gratitude and perspective better than anything else ever could have.
Just for fun, here is a photo retrospective of the evolution of our kids:
Five years ago:
Four years ago:
I would not wish divorce upon anyone. Especially a family. It is a bitter pain and a catastrophic loss that is difficult to describe to those who have not lived it. But sometimes, it is simply the only path you can take, the only path that is right for your or your kids, so you walk it – painful slow step by painful slow step until you look up one day and realize that you have made your way into a new place, which may be foreign and full of uncertainty, but is a better place for you. And often new love lives in that place, and if you are open to it, it will find you.
And it found us.
And a year ago we turned what was already a happy family into an “official” one, with a ceremony and reception at my mom’s house (the one where I grew up) that was full of color and light, music and laughter, champagne and a chocolate wedding cake (of course!). It was simply one of the very best days of my life, where my future opened up wide in front of me, where my best friend pledged his heart and life’s committment, where the three children I love with all my heart celebrated with us, and where a life of promise tapped me on the shoulder and said, “This way!”
Plus, damn, look at that hair.
And while I have never heard anything but kind words about Florence Henderson, who by all accounts is a lovely lady, that the Brady Bunch is a work of fiction is about as obvious as the fact that french fries make your thighs jiggle. If the producers of the show had cast with reality in mind, the part of Carol Brady would have been played not by the lovely, wrinke-and-sag free Florence Henderson, but by the hardened and grarled Polly Holiday (and “Kiss my Grits!” would have hit the airwaves years earlier.) So I say this with all due reverence: Carol Brady can suck it.
Cause life – in all its rich, messy, loud, loving, ridiculous, crazy, complicated, joyous, housekeeper deficient reality – could never survive in that formica-infused house with the fake grass.
But it thrives here. And today I remember how lucky I am to have such a life of my very own.
I love you, my family. Happy Anniversary.