“We just worshipped him, treated him like he was a little god.”
“I know there were days I wanted to beat the hell out of you for it.”
Wondering whom this conversation was between and whom it was about? Well, last night I hosted a family dinner and that was just one of the short reminiscing I and my Wife-in-Law’ (WIF) had about our youngest son. Putting that conversation in context, I was the second voice the one that wanted to beat the hell of her, after I said it we both cackled while the son in question looked on bemused.
This is our blended family:
I have known my WIF and her current husband for 28 years; I married her ex, when our shared sons were four and seven respectively. With only a few exceptions (barring blood relations), these are the longest standing relationships I have. I was legally married to our ex, the father of our shared sons for 14 years, from 1984 to 1998, I did not live with him that entire time and did not have what anyone would consider a traditional marriage, the one constant though, I adored my two stepsons, they owned me heart and soul. Every single time I considered leaving my marriage permanently, they were what kept me, they were what held me I could not bear to lose that connection.
In the early years of my marriage, it is safe to say my WIF and I were not the best of friends. I suspect we saw each other over the gulf that so often exists at the end of marriages. I know my ex remained enraged for years over what he believed was unfair treatment, as his wife I took his side. Overtime, the scales dropped from my eyes and it was easier to see that both sides had a story to tell. I don’t know when my WIF and I started to drop our animosity and find common ground; it was before her ex became my ex though.
I asked my WIF if I could write about her in my blog, as we were chatting she casually said, ‘you could call me the Baby Mama’.
My eldest, who is quite grown up at thirty-five, with a horrified look on his face replied for me, ‘you will not do that!’
These are my sons, who I adore.
For 28 years they have held my heart, filled a hole I thought would remain empty forever. The first weekend they visited after I married their father, they confronted me with this epiphany;
‘We don’t have to do what you say, you aren’t our mother!’
Spoken with true attitude and conviction by two children I was convinced were demon seed at that point in the weekend. My WIF had informed me she didn’t believe in spanking, it was obvious. To say we had different views on childrearing would have been an understatement!
There have over these many years been ups and downs, tears and laughter. There was a time when I thought I lost them and my heart would remain broken forever. We healed and here we are a family. The minister at our eldest son’s wedding several years ago tried to figure out who we are, specifically who we are to each other. When he had been introduced to us separately, it was as ‘My Mom’. Her husband was introduced by name, so clearly not ‘Dad’, my husband for obvious reasons, also not ‘Dad’. Finally the minister couldn’t stand it his curiosity got the best of him; he found us sitting together chatting and simply asked. Bless her, she said;
‘We’re the mom’s, we both divorced their Dad.’
Family is a funny thing, how we ultimately form the bonds of love and hang on tight, sometimes without even realizing those bonds are wrapping themselves around us. We have added new marriages, grandchildren, new partners and perhaps soon new grandchildren. We are fortunate I think.
One is the name she gave herself last night to tweak our son. The other is the name we gave to each other because we couldn’t find another that described our family relationship properly and the bond we shared.
This is my Wife-in-Law and I, who I will always be grateful to for sharing her brilliant children with me and curing the hole in my heart.