If you have a family that includes step-children, adopted children…if you’ve been married or partnered more than once, and keep in touch with your ex…if your parents or other extended family members live with you…you might say you have a melting pot family! That’s how I describe mine. Our recent family get-togethers at Christmas will let me introduce (or re-introduce) the myriad people who make up my wonderful, crazy family!
Let’s begin with MS, my ex-husband. He always joins us on Christmas day. He is now engaged, so that may change in the future, or maybe we’ll just add his fiancée and daughter to the mix. The kids enjoy having their dad around, and we both get to spend Christmas with them. And nobody bats an eyelash. Really! Ok, sometimes there is a moment of tension, or a small bit of eye-rolling but basically, it works out great. The lack of “weirdness” may have something to do with the fact that my aunt’s ex-husband (and my cousins’ dad) has spent every Christmas with us, since they were divorced over 30 years ago. She, her husband and her ex-husband all have a friendly relationship. So, the concept of having a husband and ex-husband together for the holidays is nothing out of the ordinary for any of us.
Our Family of Seven
Then there is my current husband, TR, and his two girls (let’s call them Little A and Big A). TR had visited them in California recently, but I hadn’t seen Big A in two years and Little A in 18 months, so it was really nice in a crowded and hectic and a “I forgot to make the boys a place to sleep!!!” kind of way, but definitely nice.Big A is in her late 20’s and Little A is 17, a few months younger than Master Yi-Yi. They blended right in and as far as I could tell the interactions between the five of them were typical of any sibling group with a sixteen year age gap!Did I mention that sleeping arrangement were occasionally an issue?!! Since, TR’s girls were in the boys’ room, the boys moved around on several occasions…think musical beds!
I should probably go back and mention Christmas Eve. That day is reserved for TR’s side of the family, which is its own little melting pot. TR comes from a complicated background and should probably have a post all his own some day! We spent the day with his sister and her husband (his only family members who live in the area), two of her kids, three of his kids as well as wives and grandchildren. So, it was a very eclectic bunch. With a face licking dog, two very mobile toddlers, a couple of preschool girls, our older kids, and adults everywhere, it was quite festive and put us in the proper Christmas spirit…something that had been lacking, up to that point, with all the school work and preparations.
Going back to my family, my cousin was down from Pittsburgh for the week along with her husband and their recently adopted 18 month baby boy. Just picture five dogs, and a toddler running around the house screaming “Daddy!” all day long. My mom’s house was pristinely decorated, and most of it was left alone. Except for the dog bowl and toilets. Now, those things were super interesting to the little cousin. And to the dogs! All in all, it was great to be reminded of the sheer joy and energy a toddler possesses, and it made Christmas extra cheery. He and my kids adore each other. It was also really good for Monkey Boy, especially because of his reservations about being a “donor egg” baby. If you don’t remember, you can read about that in my very first post, my whole journey through IVF or just my post about Monkey Boy. He was able to see that love is much more important than biology, and he absolutely loves his little cousin.
In addition, my 95 year old grandmother lives with my parents (who live right across the street). So my kids have their grandparents as well as their great grandmother as part of their daily lives. It definitely makes for a short trip to my parents’ house for the holidays!! J I’m sure my kids don’t realize how lucky they are to have this whole support system, but I really hope someday they appreciate it…especially since I’d like daily interactions with my…future… grandchildren!
Not only do we have this widespread group of people, but TR’s and my five kids are a melting pot unto their own. None of them are 100% biologically related. Master Yi-Yi was conceived naturally by me and my ex-husband. And as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Little H and Monkey Boy were each conceived using a different set of donor eggs. My husband and his ex-wife had Big A naturally. Little A came along ten years later, but TR found out she wasn’t biologically his when she was four. Um, yes, you read that right and yes, there was some drama between him and his ex-wife in the short run, but he loves her dearly, and is her father in every other way.
So that basically sums up our “melting pot.” It’s complicated, sometimes it’s messy. but it’s never boring and I absolutely wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometime soon, I’ll delve a little deeper into TR’s side and give you a better glimpse at how our family came to be. And Master Yi-Yi continues to keep me on my toes as he seeks more and more independence, so I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about that!