I'm a bit late posting this. I blame society. Society made me what I am! (*lame Repo Man reference for any of you born that long ago.)
On Tuesday, my parents rocked out their 30th wedding anniversary in true style. By taking my two spring-break house-bound kids for the afternoon and then totally forgetting it was their anniversary until I called to discuss their anniversary dinner. Which we didn't do that night because mom had already popped pizzas in the oven and started salads.
Now, being the good daughter that I am, I told mom that this was unacceptable and she needed to celebrate her anniversary. Which apparently didn't hold any weight with her. She kept my boys for the evening and sent me on my way to my church small group meeting. I was told I needed it. Hmmm. Mom is usually right. Unfortunately, it took me the better part of my 42 years to really own up to this fact. I did go get them a gorgeous vase full of flowers before I left for small group. But still, it felt rather lame.
Let me tell you a bit about why 30 years of marriage is a miracle for my parents. For those family members that know my 5 siblings and me, you already understand the miracle. For those of you that have this very mistaken notion that I'm some sort of wonderful, kind-hearted, unselfish Christian girl...I am that on my good days. I am very far from that on my not so good days.
In 1978, my parents got married. We were like some kind of Brady Bunch on acid. I wish I could dig up a picture. Wait. I have to try. My giant blocks of wood for shoes ALONE are worth the effort. One second. I'll be right back.
Here's the guys. From closest to farthest we have Peter, Greg, Bobby and Mike. (*Names have been changed to amuse the blogger.)
Here's the goylz. From closest to farthest we have Cindy, Jan, Marsha and Carol. (*Again, names have been changed because it amuses me to think of myself as clever.)
Dudes, you seriously can't see the blocks of wood I have riveted to my feet. Ok, actually the white straps of leather were ACTUALLY riveted to the blocks of wood. Notice the dainty footwear of the times sported by my mom and sisters. I, however, have the feet of Fred Flintstone or Barny Rubble. They're very short and very wide. They don't generally make dainty footwear for female hobbits. No. They fashion "shoes" from straps of leather, rivets and blocks of wood.
Enough of the shoes. Check the hair we all sported. I was rockin' the Sabrina Duncan/Kate Jackson cut. Granted, it was probably more like Toni Tennille from the Captain and Tennille. But since I was convinced at the time that Kate Jackson was my birth mother (by the sheer fact that I had her hair cut), I always made sure I played the smart Angel with my friends.
Wow, could I digress any more?
Those pictures rock, do they not?
Look, I'll get back on point. In 1978, nobody knew about blended families. People really thought it would work like the Brady Bunch. Maybe if you marry when your kids are all between the ages of zero and 3, sure. Maybe if the other spouses are deceased...maybe. That didn't seem to help our family. But when you try to blend a family of 6 kids of the ages 12, 14, 14, 16, 19 and 19? Those are not exactly prime ages for flexibility and adapting to change. They are, however, prime ages for large volcanic explosions and years of events that could fill many books. Thankfully, none of my siblings or I are wanting to recount those events in any public forum.
The two oldest moved out as soon as they could. The remaining four made life as unbearable for each other and our parents as 4 teenagers possibly could. How our family has retained any semblance of "family" or friendship is truly a testimony to God and his handiwork.
My parents weren't perfect. There weren't a plethora of books on how to make a blended family of teenagers work. They didn't have a clue about the major life issues that would hit many of their kids. And us kids were in the same boat but on the kid end of the spectrum. We were adolescents. Pretty much the most narcissistic age on the planet. We had needs and the rest of the world be damned. Oh it was just a recipe for disaster.
To their credit, my parents prayed hard and enlisted their friends and family to do the same. I can't speak for the rest of my siblings. But I made my dad's life miserable for a good 6 to 8 years. I have no doubt that man wanted to walk on more than one occasion. But he stayed. They toughed it out. They toughed out a parent life that no parent should have to endure. And it didn't stop once we all reached our 20s and realized what idiots we were. No, we just found more grown up idiocies to indulge in.
In this world where people bail on marriages in any number of ways for any number of tiny ripples in their perception of perfection, my parents are freaking rocks. My siblings and I might have problems with some of their methods. But being a parent now and knowing that I will literally do anything to keep my kids safe? I can't really blame them. But they never bailed on the marriage. They probably would have had every right in the eyes of society. That fickle society that tells you at every turn, if it's hard, toss it. Get a new one! That blended family - everyone knew it would fail. We can't blame them for tossing in the towel. No way. My parents took the sacrament of marriage seriously. They took the charge of parenting these 6 miscreants seriously. God gave them that charge. And they haven't given up on any one of us yet. Or our kids.
I'm just barely hinting at the surface of a ginormous iceberg. I will never write about all of the crap our family went through. I'm sure mom shared some with her sisters. I'm not sure who dad talked to. And I'm sure all 6 of us kids have shared our very biased views with any number of friends. But none of those confidantes lived it. Being the youngest of the six, I stayed in that house the longest. My Big Sis and I stayed long enough for my "step-dad" to become "dad".
And it's these same parents that weathered a familial storm with 6 unwilling kids who have run to bail each of us six kids out. Over and over again. Year after year. The most recent time being their move here to Texas to rescue me after my marriage failed.
The next time I let a man into my life, he better have the resolve of my parents. He better be ready to live up to that standard. Because most of the married couples breaking up because it got "hard"? They don't KNOW from hard.
My parents freakin' ROCK, yo.