Saturday, October 27, 2012

After the Wedding: Family Thoughts

The family of the bride - Art's daughter Laura - turned up, for the most part, at the beautiful wedding in Akumal, Mexico last week. Five of her siblings, a sister-in-law, her mom and stepdad, her dad and me. We spent a good part of four days together, in various configurations. One day we all piled into a van to explore Chichen Itza. On another, we joined Brian the groom's family on a snorkeling trip.

Of the 28 people who attended the wedding, about half were from Brian's side - his parents, sister, aunt and uncle and cousins. The other half were Laura's immediate family only. Not present at the wedding were Laura's numerous aunts and uncles and even more numerous cousins. She has a large family; her mom Nancy has seven siblings and her dad Art has seven, and most of these people have children as well. They will be seeing Laura and Brian at a holiday family gathering in December here in Seattle.

I sat in the front row on the bride's side at the ceremony, between my husband Art and his ex-wife Nancy. We were all happy to be there together. Art and I have been together for 20 years; Nancy and her husband Clete for nearly that long. We don't see each other often, but we're cordial. And on this day we were also proud.

When Art and I got together his youngest son Greg was five years old and his older daughter Melissa was eighteen. My son James was twelve and my son Russ was fourteen. I was mom or stepmom to eight children.  Two of Art's children - including Laura - lived with us for several years. Two others of them visited us on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other weekend for nearly ten years.  As I looked around at Laura's wedding, I remembered when all of Art's children were younger. I played a part in the raising of most of them, and today I have a relationship with every one. I felt comfortable sitting in the front row at the wedding. During the ceremony, Laura gave a red rose to all four of her parents - to her stepdad Clete and her mom Nancy, to her Wicked Stepmother Linda and to Art, her Pops. 

Last spring, when we asked Laura how we could help with the wedding, she asked us to make sure her siblings could be at the wedding in Mexico. That meant airfare for a few, plus frequent reminders about getting passports. Mission accomplished.

Three of our sons - one of Art's and both of mine - could not attend the wedding. If I ruled the world all of them would have accepted our offer of airfare and cleared their calendars, but that's not always possible. As it turned out, the people who arrived in Akumal were the ones who were supposed to be there after all.

When I was a young woman, I visualized being married and having children and living my whole life with that family. Instead, I married and had children, then divorced and remarried and acquired stepchildren. They are all my family, this configuration. I'm a lucky woman.




14 comments:

Simone said...

This spoke to me more than you know. I have struggled with being a stepmom. The stepkids are so very different from my daughters and more challenging than I braced myself for. When you mentioned that Laura lived with you from the time she was 14 until 19 when she joined the service, it made me realize just how much I have an opportunity to impact my now 15 year old stepdaughter. I would love to pick your brain on how you went through the challenges and came out of them smiling.

Congratulations to all of you! It sounds like it is a win win all around! (Other than the siblings not being there.)

Out on the prairie said...

I am the first child of both of my parents second marriage, but we stayed together as a family.Tough when family functions prohibit this with some families.

DJan said...

It sounds like it was quite a wonderful trip, with lots of family, old and new. It seems like the blending of families happened with little stress and strain. Of course, it helped to be in such a wonderful setting! Welcome home, Linda. :-)

Olga said...

It is wonderful that you all could be there for the wedding--and on a friendly basis. I have two step children in addition to my own two, but they were all adults by the time Mike and I got together. There really is no connection there at all--our children have never even met--and it does make me sad.

Barbara Torris said...

Yes you are a lucky woman. I have heard from so many woman that an event of this type brings a lot of healing in a family. What a beautiful occasion.

Thank you for the comment on my blog. I had some added thoughts you might find interesting.

b at Retire In Style Blog

Ms Sparrow said...

It sounds like it turned out beautifully. I'm glad it was a happy occasion for you all!

#1Nana said...

I'm so glad the wedding turned out so well. It is a challenge for both the children and the parents after a divorce and remarriage. i remember that for several years after my parents divorced the spouse and I had to eat Christmas dinner twice...once at my mom's and once at my dad's. Time may not cure all hurts, butit does heal and eventually we got to a point that we could celebrate together. You are blessed to have a healthy extended family.

rosaria williams said...

What a wonderful thing to have family together for such occasions! Glad you all had a great time. Congratulations to the happy couple.

Linda Reeder said...

It's wonderful that you all can have such a good relationship, and especially great for the kids.

Rian said...

'Extended families' seem to be the norm these days. If all can be worked out amicably, I do think it's best for everyone - especially the children. So happy your family wedding experiece turned out so well!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Aw, such a beautiful day and sharing of family love. Congrats on the marriage celebration!

Dee said...

Dear Linda, this is a lovely posting. Compassion and maturity and a deep understanding and acceptance of like are threaded through it so that it touches my heart deeply. Thank you for sharing. Peace.

Perpetua said...

I've conducted plenty of weddings in my time, Linda, and this kind of situation, with blended families is now so common. I'm so glad it went well for you all, but especially for Laura and Brian's sake. May their marriage be long and very happy.

Murr Brewster said...

And they're a lucky family.