For the second to the last week of "The View From Here", I bring you a man.
Lance Burson is a writer living outside Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and 3 daughters.
He's a published author of 2 books, The Ballad Of Helene Troy and Soul To Body,
He co-runs the politics and pop culture site, Lefty Pop - Suckers For Politics And Pop Culture
and blogs at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.
Blended Family Bliss
I'm terrible at taking compliments, but my favorite one is when people find out my wife and 3 daughters and I constitute a blended family and say "oh, wow, I could've sworn you guys had been together from the start."
The only steps in our house are the ones that go upstairs to the girls' rooms, aged 18, 11, and 10. It was their decision to call each other "sister" and not use "step-mom" or "step-dad" to address my wife and I. For a wild and crazy group that threw themselves together in only six months time in 2008, it's an amazing accomplishment with a hard to comprehend story.
I met my wife six and a half years ago. We found love in a hopeless place, a mall Chili's restaurant. The first sentence each of us said to each other after initial pleasantries was "I'm not getting married again". Both of use were fresh off difficult divorces that crippled us in many ways. As taken with my wife's blond, sunshiny aura and huge smile as I was, I was determined to be a single dad and not go through the emotional ringer.
Then half a year later, we stood before a judge with the girls beside us and said I do. What happened next is too unbelievable and probably so rare it qualifies as the exception to the blended families are impossible to do rule. We're far from perfect, but there's a lot of love in our house. We talk, a lot, then we talk some more.
My oldest daughter is a freshman in college now, but was a 12-year-old weathered by her mom's recent break-up, and protective of her then 4-year-old little sister. Everyone told me if she wasn't on board with me, the new guy, then I might as well tell my new girlfriend thanks but no thanks. Yet, we were buddies. We got along, joking with each other, picking on her mom, and marveling at how her sister, and my daughter, then 5, were instant family. The day her mom and I married, it all changed. I became dad, and she had the same disdain for me as she did her mom. The teen years were equal for her mom and I, hard but worth the work we put into them.
My wife and I are convinced that if child services showed up unannounced at our house, they'd probably find plenty wrong. To say the five of us are unconventional is an understatement. But, we work. The girls all call each other sister, I'm either Lance or dad, depending on if they want money or a favor. My wife enjoys two of the three girls calling her mom all the time, and by her name or an occasional mom.
Once, when I was on the phone with work explaining who my oldest was to them -- as non-bio parents are considered second-class to laws and official entities like insurance companies and work benefit authorties -- I used the word "step-parent". My daughter heard me and broke down in tears. It's the last time I've ever done it in her presence.
I'd say as a blended family dad, I'm more Mike Brady of the Bunch but a slightly better dresser with no perm, and a lot less Terry O'Quinn, the murderous monster in The Stepfather.
My wife and daughters tell me that I didn't get a second chance at love, I got a new first shot at being happy, forever. It's up to me to take advantage of the opportunity and be an example to my girls, and the man my wife needs. Wish me luck to not screw it up.
Since Lance's wife had one older and one younger daughter,
with he and his daughter in the middle, I totally see them
fitting together just like a puzzle.
Can you see it?
and also check him out on what he likes to call
"the media that is social" on
**Next week will be the last guest post in this series!
You can find all of the posts HERE.**