Tag Archives: blended family

Under the Oregon Stars, a State of Being

Moonless Meteors and the Milky Way Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek courtesy NASA

Moonless Meteors and the Milky Way
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek courtesy NASA

In fragile folding chairs we sit watching the fire, listening to the music of the surf. We form a circle of people bound by blood somewhat, but in reality bound by that strongest of cements—love. Some are children of my body, given to me as gifts from the universe. Others are the children of my heart, given to me when I married their father.

All are my children—mine, do you hear me? Each one is my precious, my dearest earthly treasure, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love them with all the meddling, coddling love a Cancerian brings to motherhood.

I think about how it hurt to see these people grow to adulthood and leave the nest, but over and above the sense of loss at their fledging I was proud that I was a part of their lives.  They are who they are, separate from me, better, and unique.

As it should be.

We are blessed to have a family where love is thicker than blood, and if you cut one of us, we all bleed red. It is the friendship, the camaraderie, the need to be with each other that forges this blended family.

Our genetics may differ but we are the unit of us—a family united widely by marriage, closely by adoption, yes, some by birth. We are a melange of “inlaws and outlaws,” and that is okay. New spouses enter the group under duress and with trepidation, but soon  find themselves at ease, and we all make new memories.

There are many passports into this family, and blood is only a small part of it. Sometimes we go a while apart but memories of lazy summer vacations and stressed-out Christmases, and the challenge of making Thanksgiving menus work for everyone (even the vegan) draw us back together. Dietary dramas fade when unconditional love is applied to the injury.

That connection, these traditions, this path that leads us to each other is the core of a state of being that is hard to define, a concept we call family.

We are not all around this fire tonight. In low voices we talk about how we miss those who couldn’t make the journey this year. We laugh about their youthful antics and how we miss them. We understand well how being an adult means you can’t get time off when you want it, even for a traditional week of family rest and renewal.

Beneath the Oregon stars, my grandchildren run wild and the dunes echo with their laughter. Tonight I am contented, blessed in a way everyone should be.


Filed under Humor, Publishing, writer, writing

Java and Imaginary Heroes

EspressoOnce again I am preparing to get in the car and trundle up the highway. Going north to Snohomish.  Gotta love that town!  They have a great new coffee shop, Rock City Cafe, where the owner roasts the day’s coffee every morning. I like to go there and write in the evenings.

As a true northwesterner, I love the artisan coffees we have available all up and down the Puget Sound.  When I am in Olympia, I go to Batdorf and Bronson coffee roasters for the ambiance and the brew.

The hard part of all this traveling is being away from my home and my husband. But, as with everything, we are committed to helping our kids as well as we can.

We have a Blended Family, three from my previous marriages and two from his. Together we have three daughters and two sons. Daughter 1 is 39, Daughter 2 is also 39, Son 3 is 37, Son 4 is 35, and Daughter 5 is 29. All but Son 4 have provided us with lovely grandchildren, two of whom are providing us with great-grandchildren.

Spike-wavesOur kids don’t need monetary help, but, as I have written before, two of them have epilepsy. The oldest by 3 months, Daughter 1, has seizures that have only once progressed to the Tonic Clonic stage.  Hers are more a matter of her going away for 3 to 4 minutes and then picking up right where she left off.  Her new meds are working perfectly with no allergic reactions, and if her EEG continues to look good, she will be able to resume driving in August. But right now, she needs help getting around as public transit does work well for where she needs to go. I go north every other week for 3 days and babysit her 6yr old and try not to be the pain-in-the-arse mother-in-law.

Son 4 is unmarried. He has seizures that manifest themselves in the Tonic Clonic form. Since his last episode he is doing really well.  The fact is, he doesn’t have them if he simply takes his meds. He has them if he doesn’t.

He is on board with his neurologist and is taking his meds.  His EEG looks good too! He has excellent public transportation where he lives, and is well enough employed he could take a cab to work if he chose to. I only need to drive him when it is something complicated.

We are fortunate to live in a time when the medical community has achieved some progress in both understanding this array of conditions we call epilepsy. My family is fortunate that there are effective medicines they can take that don’t turn them stupid, and that they aren’t allergic to.

We know this condition that two of my children share is from their father’s side, as our other 3 children don’t show any symptoms. Their father’s side of the family was quite secretive about some things, and with good reason. As a society we are only now emerging from the Dark Ages when it comes to epilepsy, just within the last 20 years.

Even though I hate the drive, I love being needed. Daughters 2 and 5 and Son 3 don’t need help, so my participation in their lives is by invitation only. I respect that, and encourage it, as I have my own life, and know what it is like. Nevertheless, when your children are well-grown and living productive adult lives it is easy to lose that feeling of being connected to them. That can devolve into a feeling of loneliness and self-pity.

I am so NOT that mama.

In my early twenties I dealt with in-laws who couldn’t let go, and who made my life a misery, so I could never do that to my sons-in-law.

My Coffee Cup © cjjasp 2013Fortunately for them, I have my imaginary friends, and my fantasy life so I don’t really have time to hang around moping and feeling neglected.  The minute someone comes home to take The Boy off grandma’s hands, I am out the door!

Grandma has a coffee bar to go to, and four hunky, although quite imaginary, men who need to be told what to do! Leave the door unlocked, she’ll be staggering in about the time they shut the place down for the night.


I’m THAT kind of grandma.


Filed under Adventure, Books, Dragon Age, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, writing