July 5, 2012
We just celebrated our wedding anniversary, our 13th to be exact. At the risk of sounding cliché, in many ways it feels like we married just last week and in others, seems like we’ve been married for centuries. We’re a blended family with four children stair-stepped two years apart, and believe me, we’ve crammed a lot of living into these 13 years.
Our children were 7, 9, 11 and 13 on the day we wed. Those pre-teen years are not easy ones under the best of circumstances; bringing children those ages together with parents they’re still working on getting used to can be like playing with gasoline and matches. There have no doubt been times when each of us (children included) have been tempted to throw in the towel, but we didn’t. I’ll say too, that we’ve been blessed in the sense that all of our children have gotten along well from the beginning and have come to love each other over the years. That made things so much easier.
We’ve shared countless softball, football, cheer, soccer and golf seasons.We've celebrated graduations. We’ve shared holidays carved up the way only blended families do. We’ve shared the loss of loved ones and the joy of hard-earned accomplishment. We’ve shared spiritual growth as a family.
I don’t know what the traditional 13th wedding anniversary gift is. In our case, it was a very nice dinner, flowers and looking ahead to a trip this summer - the honeymoon we never had because we hit the ground running 13 years ago. I hope we know how to function without being immersed in all the busy-ness that’s characterized our lives for so many years.
I think we’ll figure it out.
To all the blended families out there who have days in which you’re not sure it’s going to work, I salute you. It’s worth all the work, tears, patience and more work.
Are you a step-parent or step–child? Do you have stories, tips or encouragement to share with others?
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is eagerly expected in late summer 2012.