I was trying to dig my way through the living room this morning (everyone was home because of school vacation.) when I started wondering: where the heck did all this stuff come from?
I pride myself on having my home decorated in early childhood with accents of late adolescence and overtones of budding adulthood. On this particular day, it was more reminiscent of a natural disaster of epic proportions.
When I say everyone was home, I mean everyone! The funniest thing was to see nine people in ages ranging from twenty-two all the way down to eight, squeezed into one large sofa. Now, mind you, this couch was not that big. There were bodies on piled on top of bodies!
They actually had it down to a system. The older boys would squeeze in first, with the two younger boys and the girls sitting on top. Now add to the mix a huge comforter and the dog on top of that, just for good measure! It was a miracle that the whole thing didn’t go crashing through the floor with all of them landing in the basement. I was surprised the couch didn’t break in half from all the weight!
It’s not like we didn’t have other chairs to sit on in the living room. We did. There was a love seat, an armchair, ottoman, and throw pillows. But somehow everyone always wound up all on the same couch. They were all nuzzled in there watching, drum roll please, of all things, a Warner Brothers six-hour cartoon marathon!
Honestly, the older ones seemed to be laughing louder than the younger ones! They seemed so happy and content, I forgot about the mess and sat on the armrest of same couch (yeah I know, it runs in the family!) to watch for a minute as well.
I looked away from the TV and looked down at my piggy pile of a family. Slowly the memories came back of the first time we took a long vacation as a family. Mel and I had come to the reality that our relationship was getting serious; marriage serious. The challenge was that he had four kids, and I had four kids! (This was before we inherited James, our oldest.)
We had decided not share our relationship with anyone, not even anyone from work or even our family! My best friend, Sue Yen, was the only one that knew about me dating again, and on my hubby’s side his best friend Victor was his confidante. We already had realized how insane our future would be with so many kids, so the last thing we needed was well meaning people reaffirming that! I did not need everyone telling me how crazy I was—I already knew that!
On my part, too, I did not want my kids to see me with a different guys I might be dating. Not that I ever dated that much; Mel was the first guy I dated after my divorce. I just didn’t want to introduce them to “friends,” “Uncles,” or “acquaintances.” I had gone through that junk with my mother and I hated it, so it would be a cold day in Hades before I would do that to my boys.
When I got divorced, I felt like the biggest loser in the world. I didn’t want to make it worse by having my boys lose respect for me or think less of me. I also didn’t want my boys getting emotionally attached to someone who might not be around after a while. They had already gone through enough loss with the divorce and losing their favorite Uncle Wayne when he passed away.
Once Mel and I knew that we wanted to make our relationship permanent, I was the first one to introduce him to my boys. We took them camping with my mother (yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking!) for the weekend. It went well for the most part and I was beginning to feel a little better about the whole thing.
Mel was still hesitant to introduce me and my boys to his kids, not because of any hesitation, but because he didn’t want to deal with the drama that his ex-wife might cause. Finally, once he mentally prepared himself to deal with it, he decided to take all of us camping in the White Mountains.
All our kids hung around together a little bit but because Mel’s whole family was there (They weren’t supposed be with us on this trip! Unfortunately Mel is the worse at making reservations and he has some seriously crazy relatives, so we wound up at their camp site all week; and this part of the tale, is so another story for another day!), it didn’t really give us a chance to see if they got along or not.
So we decided to go on a longer trip just us and the kids to where else?
Tune in for the next episode of the ultimate road trip! Don’t you just love a cliffhanger?
Part 1 | (Part 2)