Two years ago today my hubby and I scheduled our anniversary. That is to say, we scampered over to the courthouse (for a HAPPY reason–a novelty in itself for a pair of recovering alcoholics like us) and tied the knot. Lucky Thirteen, that’s our anniversary. Never mind that it was a Tuesday morning–clearly we’re not traditionalists anyway. My Island Guy demonstrated the depth of his affection by actually putting on SHOES for 20 minutes–and then we did our daily shopping and opened up our restaurant. Later that day I quietly updated my FaceBook (he stole my heart, so I stole his last name) and let our friends take notice on their own time.
Two years ago I became Granny, and Mom to seven instead of two. I’m humbled and honored that none of the kids use the “step” qualifier in describing family relations, except in cases where its omission would cause undue confusion. They simply speak of their “brothers and sisters” and we joyfully refer to them as OUR kids–which all of them are, to both of us. (The only time that “step” regularly surfaces in conversation is when Dad is being particularly embarrassing–eg. offering to wear a cheerleader dress to our son’s football game–in which case our 15-year-old will tell his friends: “That’s not my dad. He’s just married to my stepmom.”)
This same 15-year-old, who had previously been the “baby” of the family, has stepped gracefully into his role as Big Brother–the younger ones adore him. And our 10-year-old delights in having Big Brothers to look up to. (Observation on Family-Chemistry… The sibling-sets who have been with each other from the beginning still exhibit that familiar brother/sister friction, but even with a couple years of “blended” family behind us, the kiddos demonstrate unfailing admiration and affection for the siblings they didn’t “suffer” in earlier years. I’m sure there’s a psychology paper in that.)
As for me, I still take an impish delight in people’s expressions when I talk about my grandkids (I’m not so young that it’s entirely unfeasible, but in truth, my oldest daughter is just a few years younger than I)–and in referring to myself occasionally as The Wicked Stepma.
God has a wicked sense of humor–that’s the conclusion of our anniversary-induced reflections. The two of us collided in Rehab, each of us in a last-ditch effort to save our own lives, or even to believe them worth saving. He had arrived there by ambulance after hanging himself, and I checked myself in a few days later, having just chucked everything my sober-self believed worthwhile (kids, career) by my inability to walk away from the vodka bottle. We spent Christmas constructing gingerbread houses (an activity improbably billed as “occupational therapy”), engaged in a heated rivalry on the hospital’s badminton court, and each discovered the reality of the elusive (and, I had always believed, mythical) creature, the Soulmate. From badminton-court to courthouse and beyond–this has been a truly joyful journey, challenges and changes and all. Thanks, Baby. Me kealoha pumehana.