Tag Archives: marriage

Stuck in a Blender


“Hi, Lisa!

I noticed in your bio that you are in a blended family.  I am, also and I am wondering why you don’t write about blending families more often. My husband and I have been married for 3 years and together we have 4 children (his two daughters – ages 5 & 8 – and my son and daughter – ages 10 and 12)…To be honest, this has been a lot harder than either of us thought it ever would be.  The kids are not responding the way we thought they would, our relationship is strained and our exes are not making things any easier.  I fear that we have made a mistake and didn’t think this through.  Do you have any advice to offer?  I do love him, but sometimes I wonder if that is enough… V”


Hello V!  First let me offer you a big virtual hug.  This is just a portion of your letter, yet it’s obvious that you and your mister are in a bad place right now and I’m sorry for that.  I am also sorry that it has taken me a while to respond to your email.  I’m not completely comfortable with giving advice and, in fact, I’m not going to give you any. I’ve given your letter a lot of consideration and finally mentioned it to my husband to get his perspective.  What I can tell you is how we have dealt with our situation in hopes that it can give you some encouragement and insight.

First, please know that blending a family is not easy for anyone.  We honestly do not know of one blended family that hasn’t suffered from bumps and bruises. In biological families there is a multitude of personalities and quirks that often get in the way of familial bonding.  Blended families tend to have that same dynamic and then some.  We enter these marriages with such high (and often unrealistic) hopes for an instant family without realizing that not too long ago we were all perfect strangers.  I know that for you these three years of marriage have seemed long and trying but, in reality that’s not a lot of time for people who barely knew each other to grow to love one another.  Big Poppa and I have been married for 11 years and we are still stuck in a blender.

I would have to admit that the pressures and trials of being in a blended family have almost ended my marriage…more than once.  We have sought counseling (family and couples) on and off throughout these 11 years – which is not a bad thing even when all is well.  To be honest with you, I don’t think that we have done a very good job of effectively becoming one family.  In many ways we still operate like three separate families – his, mine and ours.  Each of us is still very tender about the subject of our children and it has become a topic that we really don’t discuss much.  Awkward? Yes. Survival technique? Definitely.  I don’t advise this approach, I’m just being honest.

Our saving grace has been our love for God and each other.  Ultimately, we are committed to our vows and each other.  Not to mention that Big Poppa and I are the best of friends.  There have been moments that we have lost sight of this, but that has been what’s always brought us back to try to talk things out or at least find a comfortable place to call a truce.  It’s so easy to find fault with the other person and their children and fail to see where we missed the mark.  On the other hand, you both need to firmly believe that nothing the other person is doing is with malicious intent or trying to cause harm.  Yes, we are there to provide protection for our children, but we are also there to provide protection and support for our spouse.  It all starts with trust and commitment.

V, raising a family is hard and a blended family is even harder.  There’s no easy way to say it.  I wish that I had advice that could help you or somehow make it easier, but I don’t.  I can tell you that I feel you, girl. I’ve been there and it’s hard, and it’s exhausting and it’s painful.  You’re husband is not going to understand everything that you’re feeling and you’re not going to understand him completely either.   His kids may reject you and your kids may reject him, but don’t reject each other.  Please don’t do that. Hold on to one another and eventually you will all get to a comfortable place.  Some couples therapy wouldn’t hurt either.


Take good care,



Our Family Circa 2012

Our Family Circa 2012


Intent is 9/10 of the Law

photo credit: tugceninkitapligi.blogspot.com

photo credit: tugceninkitapligi.blogspot.com

First, I have a story to tell you.  Last night, the evening of the 4th of July, some friends of ours stopped by to pick up their daughter who had spent the day with us.  For the sake of this story, we will call them Bob and Sue.  As usual, Bob, Sue, Big Poppa and I ended up sitting around chatting when Sue told a story about meeting  Bob’s elderly aunt for the first time before she and Bob got married some years back.  As Sue explained that Bob’s aunt was legally blind, she described how the woman had sat next to her and felt her arm to get a sense of Sue’s size and in doing so commented “Oh, you got a good healthy one here!”  Umm…I think that I should tell you that my friend, Sue is like most of us, an average sized woman, not thin, but not heavy, and laments about that 10 to 20 pounds that she’d like to lose. So you can imagine that this whole situation was a little, shall we say, uncomfortable  for her.  But, wait! There’s more.  Bob then proceeded to say that it was a good thing that his uncle wasn’t alive then because “He really liked big women.  He would have loved you!”  Silence.  Everyone else stopped talking – everyone except for Bob who hadn’t realized what he had said. He continued on with the “compliment”…”Oh, yes, he reeaally would have loved you!!”   This was about the time that my husband stopped breathing and sank down into the sofa next to me, hiding behind pillows.  He wanted to throw his friend a lifeline, but he knew that there was no way that Bob could be saved.  On the other hand, I was laughing so hard that I had tears running down my cheeks.  Not laughing at what he had said, of course, but at the look on Bob’s face when he realized just what he had done.  I  have to tell you that my friend Sue is unbelievably funny and an incredible actress because her portrayal of the wounded wife was worthy of an Oscar.  I say her “portrayal of the wounded wife” because of what she said after we all collected ourselves.  I’m not saying that Sue wasn’t bothered by the statement but, for other couples that could have ended up causing a major argument that lasted days or weeks.  However, she said, in so many words, that  while Bob’s words may sometimes be clumsy, he never intends to purposely hurt her and that makes all of the difference.

This made me think about when Big Poppa and I were preparing to marry and we went through pre-marital counseling with our pastor and his wife.  We were discussing marital conflicts and conflict resolution and I had never considered that husbands and wives would ever intentionally do or say things to hurt one another.  I mean, I knew that arguments happen and things get said that you may regret but, I never thought that it could be intentional.  Why would you ever marry someone then intentionally hurt their feelings?  What good could you ever expect to come of that?  Now I know how naive I was because people do it all of the time without any regard as to how to pick up the pieces afterward.  Sue is completely right.  The fact that I know that Big Poppa handles my heart with care and would never intentionally inflict pain on me is a huge factor in how I respond to our disagreements. Admittedly, it takes a lot of effort to remember that in the heat of battle ( sorry, just an expression).

How often have we all said something to our spouse and immediately wished that we could get those words back? Or even worse, how often have you wanted to say something, but knew that it wasn’t going to go over well and couldn’t find the right way to say it?  That second one really frustrates me because,  in my opinion, Big Poppa should know me well enough to know that I would never intentionally say anything to hurt him.  He should know that my intentions are to help us get to the heart of what ever is between us.  It’s called giving someone the benefit of the doubt.  Am I sometimes blunt? Yes.  Do I like to get straight to the core issues? Yes.  Am I warm and fuzzy when it comes to working out our differences?  No, not really but, I think that intent matters and that it is something to be considered by both sides.

Whether intentional or not, my words and/or actions can inflict pain on my spouse and I am responsible for the outcome.  Therefore, I should be prepared to deal with the fall out afterward.  On the flip side, if we accept the words in the spirit in which they were intended, doesn’t that lessen, not eradicate, the hurt?  After all, this isn’t a stranger that we are having a disagreement with, but it’s our spouse.  The person that we have chosen to spend our life with and spend more time with than anyone else.   Shouldn’t we be able to extend to them some consideration?   Don’t get me wrong, there have been many times during a disagreement when I have wondered how Big Poppa could be so insensitive or thoughtless.  However, I have had to take a step back and remind myself that he is not doing this on purpose. That’s not to say that I don’t take a moment to make him aware of how he has made me feel and why. We just don’t see this issue the same way. It’s a matter of trust.

Admittedly, there are things in a marriage that are done with the intention of hurting your spouse.  Domestic violence is intentional because it’s a power play and the abuser uses it to instill fear and to control his victims.   Lying is intentional regardless of what you’re lying about because you actually have to take the time to think up the lie to cover for whatever it is that you are doing wrong.  Infidelity is intentional. It never just happens.  That’s a lie (hence the previous statement) because you actually have to think about it and make plans to meet your lover at some predetermined location.  And even if you meet someone in a bar/work/gym and a one night stand follows, there are opportunities between meeting and the act to stop the entire thing.  It is a conscious decision.

Intent means a lot.  It can be the difference between experiencing some uncomfortable moments, but reaching a positive conclusion; and completely destroying a relationship.  Just something to be considered.  By the way, Bob and Sue are just fine.  She made him squirm a while, but then let him off the hook.

Congratulations, Jordan & Emily!


615 rings marriage DM7 shutterstock

One of my nephews got married this weekend. Congratulations to Jordan and Emily!  Big Poppa and I were unable to attend however, the event did spark some reminiscing about our early married years.  Let’s just say that we’ve come a long way.  There’s nothing like new love, it’s full of hopes and dreams of happily ever after.  Although we are very happily married now, obviously every moment hasn’t been what one could consider “marital bliss”. Truth be told, that’s the case in most marriages.  Last night, after a very pleasant date night, we considered what advice we would give to this couple (or any other newlywed couple, for that matter) to help them along this journey.  The following is what we came up with.  There was some other stuff, but it wasn’t very helpful,  just funny.

1.  STAY ROOTED IN YOUR FAITH.  Without understanding what our God-given roles are for marriage we surely would have been lost.  We believe this is the single most important ingredient to a successful marriage.

2. TALK, TALK AND THEN TALK SOME MORE.  I was once told by a very wise man that, “Marriage is an uphill battle at best! But, if you can communicate with each other, you have 50% of the battle won.”  That wise man was my father.  I don’t necessarily agree with his description of marriage being an uphill battle, but I do agree that the ability to speak freely, although respectfully, to exchange ideas and feel valued is a basic requirement for a successful marriage.  There really should be no secrets or anything that you’re afraid to talk about.

3. BE FINANCIALLY INTIMATE. This is hard, but so very necessary.  Full financial disclosure is necessary BEFORE you say “I do”  because the last thing that you want are surprises that will ultimately need to be dealt with by the both of you. Discuss your financial styles – Big Poppa’s a saver, while I’m a spender.  There were compromises to be made.  I made sure that he understood that I have to have a shoe budget while, he made sure I understood that there are limits.  The truth is that if you can reach a budget that is fair to both of you, works well for your family and provides you with financial stability, you will have conquered one of  the biggest obstacles for a lot of marriages.

4. KEEP LOVE ALIVE.  Trust us, there will be  a day when, for whatever reason, you don’t find each other so attractive.  Maybe you’ve gained a little weight, or you’ve gotten older or you have on your uniform yoga pants and one of your array of Target t-shirts with the least spit up stains on it from your most recent baby and you have yet taken a shower and it’s six o’clock at night.  Yea, I know…not so sexy.  Or, it may have nothing to do with looks at all, but life has stepped in and you are too busy, too tired and too distracted to really focus on each other.  This is when you have to work harder!  He has to let her know that he is not taking her for granted and that she is still attractive to him.  While, she has to work harder at letting him know that she appreciates him and she still wants his attention.  It’s all about balance.   Big Poppa thinks I’m hot, even in yoga pants and a stained t-shirt.

5. KIDS = GAME CHANGER. In all likelihood, even before you walked down the aisle someone was already talking to you about having children (grandmothers!). Our advice is to take your time!  Enjoy each other’s company and the freedom that you have without children.  Take the time to strengthen your relationship because having children brings on a whole new set of issues.  If you don’t have a strong marriage,  you will not be effective parents.  So, WAIT!

6. TRUST.  Please don’t go looking for trouble.  It’s never okay to snoop through each other’s things  (including cell phones), follow them around or be overly suspicious.  More often than not, there is nothing going on, but your behavior will push them away and is really disrespectful.

7. KEEP YOUR FAMILY OUT OF YOUR BUSINESS (ESPECIALLY YOUR MOMMA!).  My sister-in-law is not going to like this, but it’s true.  Family members have a hard time being objective (I include myself in this one).  Yes, have a support system of people to talk to and offer advice but, not your family.

8. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE SUPPORT.  Be honest, we all have that one friend that never has anything nice or encouraging to say.  She or he is the one that if you went to them after a fight with your spouse and started opening up, they would say “I knew it wouldn’t work and here’s why…”.  My advice is to dump that friend but, if you just can’t bring yourself to do that then, do not talk to them about your marriage.  Talk to them about other important stuff like Dancing With the Stars or Downton Abbey or Scandal, but not your marriage.  When it comes to your marriage, you need people who are going to encourage you to stick it out no matter what.

9. RESPECT EACH OTHER’S PERSONAL SPACE.  This is a good one especially for young people.  It’s great to have your thing as a couple, but it’s also good to have your own thing as individuals.  You don’t have to give up your own personal interests just because you are now married.  Keep pursuing your individual interests (that is, unless it’s dating other people because that would be a problem) because it makes you a well-rounded person.

10. BECOME REAL FRIENDS (HE’S/SHE’S GOT MY BACK). Be the loyal friend to your spouse that you need them to be to you.

The one thing that is common to all ten of the items on this list is the need to be intentional.  A successful marriage doesn’t just happen, but it is the result of intentional actions.  There really is no such thing as “happily ever after” on its own.  No, no, no, no, no! It takes work.  I think that I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: marriage is not for the weak or the faint of heart, but it takes hard work and persistence.  However, when it’s good, it’s awesome!  Best of luck to you both!

Big Poppa’s Gone, so Pop the Cork!



Big Poppa is out of town again.  I’m not complaining, it’s merely a statement of fact, since he is gone fairly often.  And, you know what?  I actually look forward to it.  Although I do miss him, his travels give me sort of a respite from some of the craziness in our schedules.  It’s one less person in the mix.  My son is here but, he’s 22-years-old.  He definitely isn’t trying to hang with me.  So, really, it’s just me and my girls. Yes, I am solely responsible for them but, I am completely in control  and if you haven’t noticed, I am a bit of a  control freak.  So, if I want to feed them chips and salsa for dinner with pop sickles for dessert, that’s what I do.  But, that was just a silly example because, of course I would never do that!  Right? I’ve even come up with my own little ritual when he leaves.  I buy myself a bottle of wine and a new book to read while he’s gone.  I am laughing while I type this because I now have a nice collection of wine in my pantry and several unread books on my dresser.  I have no idea what alternate universe that I think that I enter when Big Poppa’s plane takes off , which will allow me to actually have more time on my hands to read and enjoy a glass of wine, than I do when he is here, available to help out.  It never turns out that way.  Not to mention, I’m actually not much of a drinker.  The truth is that the moment that I sit down with the glass of wine and my book, I fall asleep.  I know…I’m lame.

One day, Big Poppa was standing in the pantry when he happened to look up at the top shelf, saw my collection of wine and asked me what was up.  I told him of my little habit and he replied “Wow, am I really that difficult?”  He looked wounded and I felt so bad, sort of.  I quickly said “No! No! It’s not you, it’s me!”  He didn’t really believe me but, he laughed. I was only half kidding.  It’s not me and it’s not him, it’s us.  All couples need a break.  Although his travel schedule has picked up over the years and it has taken some time for me to get used to, it does give us an opportunity to breathe, to do our own thing and to miss each other.

It’s no secret that this move to Texas has been extremely difficult for me, however, there has been one very unexpected upside to the situation.  My relationship with my husband is better.  Not that my marriage was bad before but, like a lot of couples, we had a lot of distractions that kept us from communicating with one another effectively.  I used to say that we talked in sound bites because we never really made the time to have real conversations.  Now that we are here, we really have no other choice but to focus on one another because we don’t know anyone.  There are no family members to go visit or friends to escape to, we really only have each other.  I have to admit, not having my support system is what scared me the most but, in fact, that has been our greatest blessing.  What’s even better is that he, the hubby, has independently made the same observation so, I know that this is not just my imagination.   I never expected this happy turn of events but, I am very grateful for it because it has made this relocation  that much more worth while.


This photo was taken before the move, in the kitchen that I wanted to rip out but, never got around to it; in the house that needed just one more bedroom but, I loved the flow; in the neighborhood that I loved.  As you can see, I’m obviously still not over it yet but, I’m getting there.  It’s a slow process so please be patient with me.

My Unlikely Road to the Altar


Me and Big Poppa on our wedding day, March 22, 2003.

Yes, by the time most of you read this, Big Poppa and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary!  Yay, me! Somehow, I thought that we would mark this milestone with a lot more fanfare than we are but, considering the two people involved (one of them being me), I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s going to be really low-key.  We always said that we would return to Hawaii (our honeymoon location) for our 10th anniversary but, I think that those plans started before the birth of Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Kids have a funny way of changing your plans.

Ten years!  Like, a decade!  No, not “like” a decade, it is a decade! I know that there are plenty of people who have been married longer than that, in fact, my parents were married for 59 years by the time that my dad died. Quite honestly, the thought of being married for 59 years just freaks me out but, I think that’s because I will be 95-years-old when I celebrate my 59th wedding anniversary. Yikes!

By the time I met my Mr. Right, I was in my mid-thirties and marriage had pretty much fallen off of my radar.  I was raising my son as a single mom and really had no desire to change things.  Believe me, my road to the altar was just as surprising to me as it was to everyone else who knew me.

Okay, I’m going to tell you this story, mainly because it’s funny but, as I reflect on it, I think there is something very poignant about it.  So, picture this…it was the fall of 2000 and marriage was NOT on my list of priorities.  At the time  my son was then 10-years-old and in eight years would be leaving for college.  Still relatively young, after he left I planned to sell my townhouse in the western suburbs and buy a condo downtown Chicago.  I was looking forward to it, kind of like starting over.  During this time in our lives, my focus was on being the best mother that I could be to Mr. C.  I rarely dated and most of my social outings involved him.  This is not a complaint, it was the life that I had built for us and it was all good.

One morning at work, I was talking with a friend of mine, who was also my admin, about life (in hindsight, I really think that she thought I was a bit loony) and she said “What exactly would you be looking for in a potential husband ?’  Since I hadn’t really thought about it in a while, I told her that I’d get back to her the next day.  I did in fact consider the things that were most important to me and this is what I told her and in this order:

1. He must love God.

2. If he has children, he must be a great, fantastic and wonderfully loving dad.

3. He must be financially secure (this one needs further explanation); and,

4. He must not expect any hanky panky before marriage (this one does not need any further explanation).

The reference to financial security did not mean that I was looking for a guy with a lot of cash.  However, it did mean that he had to be secure in his profession and wise with his money.  Remember, I was a single mom.  I did not want to take any financial steps backwards.

My friend looked at me and said “Honey, you are going to be waiting a long time!”  then walked away.  I believed that she was right but, it was okay because I had reached a point in my life where I was willing to concede nothing and I was perfectly happy.

Fast forward to Christmas of that same year when a mutual friend invited this guy:

IMG01047-20120713-1653 Yes, the goofy guy in the foam pit, and I to a Christmas party that she was hosting at her home.  We were briefly introduced but, that is about as far as it went.  There was no instant spark, no love at first sight, nothing at all. Sorry, Charlie.  However, a couple of weeks later, he called and asked me out to dinner.  I said yes and this is where things start to get a bit wacky.

Big Poppa shows up to pick me up and literally, the second thing that he says to me after “Hello,” was “Can we go somewhere that I can get some soup because I just got braces on my teeth and they are hurting me right now.”  Yep! He was one smooth talker, all right!  Anyway, we went to Baker’s Square (yummy pies, right?) and I soon realized that this was a man who was putting his life back together after a divorce and not really interested in dating.  The fact that he kept stressing that we were not on date but, instead we were “fellow-shipping”  (Christian speak for “hanging out”) pretty much illustrated that point.  Therefore, I thought that entitled me to two pieces of pie since I obviously wasn’t trying to impress anyone.  Believe it or not, we went to the movies after the soup and pie to see Tom Hanks in Castaway.  It was a pleasant enough evening, which we now refer to as our first “non-date”,  and we did talk on the phone a few times after that but soon, it fizzled out. Oh, well, life goes on.  It was January, 2001.

Out of the blue, in August, 2001, I received an email from him asking me if I would like to attend a co-worker’s 50th birthday party.  Apparently, I didn’t answer quickly enough because about five minutes after I opened the e-mail, he called me to verbally repeat the invitation.  However, during his verbal invitation he went a bit further to say “There are other women that I could ask but, they would read more into it and think that this was some sort of date and I know that you won’t do that.” Really?  Wow! Now, I know that many of you are wondering why I even bothered with this guy but, being the slightly off beat, quirky person that I am, I figured that here was another opportunity for a free meal and a pleasant afternoon out with someone who wasn’t going to try to touch me.  So, I went for it!  We agreed to meet at my sister’s house where I would park my car and ride with him.  Believe me when I tell you, that from the moment I stepped out of my car that day, everything was different.   His smile was different -sweet and sincere.  His demeanor was different – totally relaxed.  His, or shall I say, our conversation was different – we were no longer fellow-shipping   We had a great time that day and we’ve been together ever since.  We became engaged in February 2002 and, as they say, the rest is history.  By the way, he met every one of the criteria that I listed above.   He isn’t perfect, he does have his own issues, (we both do…but, he has more) but, he is perfect for me.

There you have it!  The abridged version of how the two people pictured above became one, or shall I say, seven.

Our Family Circa 2012

Our Family Circa 2012

In retrospect, I guess 10 years isn’t so long.  I think that we may be just getting started.

Cinderella the Victim? Not so fast…


A while back, during a telephone conversation with a friend, I spoke of being a step-parent.  A step-mother to be more specific. I said nothing bad, it was not a complaint just merely a statement of fact.  After I got off of the phone, my youngest daughter (Thing 2) looked troubled as she sat in front of the television staring at it but, not really paying attention.  When I asked her what was wrong she got up, came up to me and threw her arms around me, then looked up at me with those big, brown eyes welling up with tears, and said, “You’re…a…STEP-MOM?!”  I was beyond surprised by her response, stunned would be more like it.  I said, “Well, I’m not your step-mom but, I am (her oldest sister and older brother’s) step mom, but, why is that so bad?”  She just looked at me then put her head in my lap and cried.  Then it dawned on me that since her indoctrination to the term “step-mom” came mostly from Walt Disney and usually included the word “evil” , in her eyes I was now a super villain.  I have to admit that at that moment, aside from my daughter crying in my lap, it was kinda cool since I had never been known as a super villain before.  I hugged her and told her that step-moms are not bad people and certainly not as bad as they are in the movies.  I told her that I love all of my kids the same and that I wasn’t going to make her brother and sister my servants or banish them from our home.  She said ” Because you love them?” “Yes, because I love them,” I said. “And because you’re not evil?” “No,” I assured her “I’m not evil.”  What I didn’t say is that it also makes better movies if the step-mother is a lunatic.  She felt better but, I think she’s keeping an eye on me.

I rarely refer to J and Baby Boy as my step-children, I usually call them my son or my daughter.  It’s just not how I approach being a blended family.  That’s not to say that I don’t have a healthy respect for the biological parent, after all my son has a step-mother of his own (who has been a joy!).  Since I have a clear understanding of how I want to be treated,  I know how I need to act toward my stepchildren’s mother.  Let me stop here and say this (and I want you to remember this as something very important that you learned about me on March 3, 2013) : Being in a blended family is the single hardest thing that I have ever done in my life! And I have been in some pretty tough situations but, I mean this with every fiber of my being.  There are so many different emotions coming from so many directions – yours, your spouse, your kids, his kids, the ex-spouse). The smallest things can become major sources of contention and it takes a real effort to consider all sides and not just respond with your own wants and desires in mind. Like any family we have had our fair share of ups and downs but, I think with blended families the downs can be much more stressful because the relationships are more fragile.    As you know, it takes time to strengthen the bonds between people. Well, time and a lot of persistence.

Now, I am aware that there are bad step-parents out there, just like there are bad parents out there. However, by and large, I don’t think that most step-moms are the stuff that Lifetime movies are made of and certainly not Disney.  I mean, Snow White’s step-mom tried to have her killed and Cinderella’s turned her into the maid (more on Cindy later because I’ve always been a bit suspicious of her story). I know a lot of step-moms and none of them fall into this category.  In fact, I think that step-moms get a bad rap in general.  One day J was explaining to me that she never wants to date/marry a man who already has children because “I know that we (she and her brother) made it hard for you and I never want to deal with that!”  Ironic, ain’t it? Actually, I was relieved and bit amused to hear her admit that they had made things hard for me.  That’s amused in hindsight.  I wonder how many children ever openly admit their bad behavior?

Which brings me to Cinderella, or Cindy as I like to refer to her.  You know, all we have ever really heard is her side of the story.  Did anyone ever interview the step-mother? No! Cindy ran straight to the tabloids with the mom died, dad married shrew with two ugly daughters, dad died, step-mom mistreated me story.  Isn’t it possible, in fact probable that it really was more like mom died, dad married nice lady with two mediocre daughters, dad died, Cindy had nowhere else to go (notice, there were no other family members in the movie).  While Cindy got a nice chunk of change, so did step-mom and she got the house which really pissed Cinderella right off!  Cindy, who already had an attitude because she was now an orphan, started talking smack to step-mom and step-sisters about how this was her daddy’s house and now should be her house and step-mom can’t tell her what to do.  It was about to go down between step-mom and Cindy when Cindy up and married boyfriend!  I don’t know about you but, this version sounds far more believable to me.

Fortunately, my step-children and I have found our way to building better relationships and, although this has been tough, I would do it all again.  I have learned a lot about my children, my spouse and myself.  Some things that I never really wanted to know but, all valuable information.  I’d like to think that I alone can change the reputation of step-moms everywhere.  Maybe become the poster child for a campaign to reinvent the image of the step-mom.  Considering the fact that Thing 2 has already forgotten about this, I think that I may have already won over my first convert.

Until Death Do Us Part (or Whenever I Get Tired of You)


Big Poppa can’t believe that I am blogging about this and, quite frankly, neither can I except to say, stick with me here.  You will see where I am going very soon and I promise that I won’t take you there again.  Well, maybe I can’t promise but, I will give it an honest try.  Yesterday morning while I was home doing some things around the house,  I had the television on and Chris Jenner, Kim Kardashian’s “Momanger” came on as a guest host.  Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I feel it is necessary to let you know that I am not a fan of the Kardashians  (any of them or all of them depending upon how you wish to look at it).  However, this is not a “why I can’t stand the Kardashians” blog post.  Anyway, Mrs. Jenner went on to talk about why her daughter, Kim, is seeking a divorce from her husband, Kris Humphries, whom she was married to for 72 days.  According to Kim’s Mom, Kim was very much in love with Kris when they got married, it just didn’t work out and it’s time to move on.  In case you have been secluded for the past month or so, I will tell you that Kim Kardashian is pregnant by her boyfriend, rapper Kanye West.  I say secluded because it was absolutely everywhere! It was breaking news on CNN. Really?!  However, Kris, Kim’s estranged husband doesn’t want a divorce.  He wants an annulment.  The problem is that in order for Kim to grant him an annulment she would have to admit to fraud which her mother says is definitely not true.  She insists that Kim’s intentions were honorable but, things just didn’t work out.  So, get over it Kris!!  She didn’t really say that last part but, that was basically the gist of  it.

In all honesty, I don’t even remember the first 72 days of my marriage.  On March 22nd, Big Poppa and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary.  I would be lying if I said that all of those days, weeks, months or years have been splendid.  Many have been wonderful, while most have been fairly average and some have been very dark.  We are like any other married couple who go with the ebb and flow of their relationship.  Some days, when I hear the garage door go up signaling that he’s home from work, I get butterflies in my stomach and I can’t stop smiling.  Other days, not so much.  I’m sure that he’d say the same…except that I’m delightful. The point is that marriage is not something that can be figured out in 72 days.  Or 8 months like Mike Tyson and Robin Givens. Or, 13 months like Jennifer Lopez and Chris Judd (you forgot about him didn’t you?). Or, 2 1/2 years like Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller (Winning!).  The list goes on and if you think about it, you probably know some not so  famous people in your own  lives that fit the description.  I just focused on Kim Kardashian because she was on my radar at the moment.

In the immortal words of one of our cousins, “Marriage is not for punks!” So, if you have a weak stomach, if perseverance is not your strong suit and if  you can’t handle challenges and opportunities, please do not take that walk down that aisle.  I take my commitment to God and my husband so seriously that it truly irks me when I hear someone – anyone, celebrity or otherwise –  be so cavalier concerning this union.  I admit that marriage isn’t for everyone but, I think that means that we should be wise about our choice of a mate or even consider if we are fit to be someone’s mate.  One should not be entering the church, courthouse or temple thinking that they have an escape clause.  I once had a very wise co-worker who had recently lost her husband of many years give me some good advise. She said “Once, you count out the Big 4 – drug and alcohol dependent, physically and/or emotionally abusive, can’t keep a job, gambles the money away – it’s all a matter of what you can live with.”  She was right.  Personal preferences and petty differences should not end marriages, but they often do.  Now, I do recognize that there are some marriages that divorce is unfortunately inevitable and they cause a lot of pain and heartache for everyone involved.  Somehow, though, I don’t think that the Kardashian/Humphries, and the others mentioned above,  union falls into that category.

Recently, I read a news story that said that roughly 50% of Americans no longer believe in traditional marriage.  Isn’t that sad and scary?  Aside from the fact that I am dying to be the Mother of the Bride (God help us all!), I want my children to experience what I have with my husband because it feels so perfectly right, even with its imperfections.  With all of the talk these days about what is undermining traditional marriage, I maintain that what really undermines traditional marriage is things like this…making a mockery of it.  There is far more effort put into preparing for the wedding day than there is for the life following the wedding.  Painstaking detail goes into the dress, flowers, cake, music, etc. Heck, they televise weddings these days if they’re fabulous enough.  If only we were as thoughtful about preparation to help us make it last.

Okay, I will get off Kim’s back and off my soap box.  I’m sure that part of her estranged hubby’s anger is due to the fact that he feels like a chump but,  whatever the reason, good for him!  Take her task because it just shouldn’t be that easy to walk away from something that should be that important.

There, I’m done.