My family is not broken

image courtesy Google Images

I’ve been watching Mad Men a great deal lately.

I like it for the sap, the storyline, and the amazing clothes.

The men in my house like it for Christina Hendricks’ boobs. And maybe I do too a little.

Several episodes I’ve recently watched have made use or mention of the phrase “broken family” or “broken home.”

And I get it. It’s a phrase. People use it. I can even see how it applies a bit. I get the imagery.

“What God hath joined together let no man tear asunder,” or something to that effect.

Well, great. I’m happy that people have a picturesque tableau in their minds and all that.

But guess what, people? Fairy tales are shit. Cinderella’s feet probably got sweaty and fogged up in those glass slippers (I had a teacher in seventh grade who wore clear pageant shoes all the time and her feet did that), and I bet Prince Charming spilled his chamberpot a time or two. And ‘happily ever after’ could totally mean that Cinderella walked away with a tidy divorce settlement and lived independently off her alimony.

I’m not saying people never last forever.

They do.

People stay together through thick and thin and wrong and right. Stubborn people. People who don’t say going in, “if you do x, y, and z, I’m done. DONE.”

In my experience, those are exactly the things that end up happening.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying let someone hit you or hurt you or tell you you’re worthless. Please don’t do that. Please.

What I’m saying is that just because people have a fairy tale picture in their minds as some sort of abstract goal, nothing – NOTHING – backs that up as being true.

I had a pretty wedding. Friends cheered me on and family ate cake.

But it was makeup on a bunch of acne scars, and…well, shit happens.

The next time I was married because I wanted more than anything to be connected to one person – this person – forever.

And I have been. Will be. Through it all.

Our family is strange. It’s true. I watch tv every night with the love of my life and one of my best friends, who also happens to be the father of 2/3 of my children. They talk about football. We all laugh and hug and kiss all the kids.

My kids run down the driveway every day to catch the bus with no clue that people think our home is “broken.”
Lucy, Max, and Ava don’t love each other half way. That shit is full on.

Our situation is rare but it’s not broken. It’s exactly the opposite. We are each better because of the way we choose to live.

Max throws the football with Josh, plays chess with Dan (who actually has enough patience for it).
Ava paints nails with me, plays ball with the boys, shares her old clothes with the baby.
Lucy steals iPhones out of pockets indiscriminately, and we all turn on Yo Gabba Gabba or play peekaboo at least once a day.

Give and take. Live and learn. We pick up shoes and we do dishes and we cook meals. We bicker and fight and annoy the shit out of each other all in turn.

And we do it not to fix something that’s been destroyed, not to put a mask on something that’s completely false…

We do it because we are the whole. We aren’t a broken family, a blended family, or anything like that.

We’re a family.

The end.

Writing prompt #134

Begin with “I wish someone told me…”

I wish someone told me…

  • life is not a Disney movie.
  • marriage is not so much romance as it is backbreaking labor, and you have to like the other person enough to love, forgive, laugh, cry, forget, overlook, remind, endure, apologize, and so much else.
  • loving your kids does not mean they will never irritate you so much that you want to flick them in the forehead. Repeatedly.
  • the cliche that friends are rarer than diamonds and gold is not a cliche at all.
  • even if you love someone to the bone and back doesn’t mean you won’t hurt them.
  • saving money is hard.
  • being broke is harder.
  • religion is often a mask worn to hide from truth.
  • following your dreams is perhaps the hardest thing to make of your life.
  • finish college.
  • be a whole person alone before you try to be whole with someone else.
  • movies lie.

Get out of here, kids.

Today my children set off to the happiest place on earth.

At least that’s what I’ve heard.

About the happiness, that is. I know they’re setting off to somewhere.

I’ve never been to DisneyWorld, and lots of people gasp when I tell them that, but it’s true. It just never happened when I was a kid, and now that I’m an adult it’s too expensive, too hot – too stressful.

I know I come across as a meek and gentle flower, but I can just visualize myself in that environment, hot and sweaty and crowded…and I would end up in jail.

I’m just saying, a day in the sun where I’m spending too much money and surrounded by crazed, uncourteous, entitled people? I’d cut a fool. No lie.

Which is why I’m grateful that my former husband is meek and accommodating, and patient to a fault with the kids. A trip to Disney is right up his alley.

What I’m not so sure about is the kids going away.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids have been away from me before. Hoo boy. They have happily coexisted in two households for most of their lives, and the fact that we all share a house now is nothing monumental to them. They’re beautifully adaptive and odd. I love them.

But they’re getting on a plane. TWO planes, actually, and then they’ll be off having a ball. And if they’re hurt I can’t help. If/when they’re obnoxious I can’t give them the LOOK. If they get lost I can’t curse at a Mickey eared cop until I get my kid back.

Ava sat in my lap last night and cried because I couldn’t go. She said she wanted me to see her in the plane.

While I’m sure she summoned the tears in the name of conning me into coddling her, it made me realize how much I’m going to miss them.


I can’t wait to hear the stories about roller coasters and princesses, video games and hotel rooms.

And as much as I’d like to be able to share the joy, I know it’s better to hear it secondhand when you are as far from being a people person as I am.

With a nice, tall glass of shut the hell up

I get it, you know.

I did it too.

There were things I’d always do, things I’d never do.

I always thought the whole “never say never” thing was such a cliche.

Turns out it’s more real than scaly feet in the summer.

I’m talking about those people. You know there’s at least one in your life (more like six, seven, or even 15 thousand, amen), and you know you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Twitter is what got me started on this line of thought.

I know that many people just don’t “get” Twitter, and I didn’t either for a long time, but once I did, I fell in headfirst.

It’s so easy to declare your life away in 140 characters. To make huge, sweeping statements that can, if you’re not careful (and sometimes even if you are), make you appear to be just a little bit of a huge, enormous, whopping, judgmental ass.

I know how easy it is to condemn a mindset, a choice, a practice when you have absolutely no clue of its reality. I’ve done it all my life.


….do I really need to go on, or have I made the point? All of these things and oh em gee so much more, I’ve had hard and steadfast beliefs on. And all of them I’ve eaten my hat about.

So to repeatedly read (via Twitter or Facebook or your sister’s diary) someone’s ADAMANT statements regarding issues they have not faced, well…

It used to anger me. Now it’s more amusing than anything else.

There are people I follow on Twitter for this very reason. Just to read their spew (and weirdness) and know that one day they’ll no doubt be eating their words, whether it concerns foreskins, gluten, or Tylenol.

So I guess the moral for today is be careful what you condemn, because you’ll be there one day, guaranteed.