September 18, 2014

The View From Here: Blended Family Bliss

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,
available on for kindle and in paperback.
He co-runs the politics and pop culture site, Lefty Pop - Suckers For Politics And Pop Culture

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?

Please go check out Lance's two sites, his Blog and Lefty Pop,
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.**

September 17, 2014

The Ninth Day of 9th Grade

I'm a late with this.

But ya know, husband in the hospital and all that....

Also though, the teenager leaves for school at 6:15 in the morning.

Ain't nobody in the mood for picture taking at that hour!

So I give you....

On the 11th day. Whatever.

September 15, 2014

Admitted to the Hospital

It may seem silly for me to think about blogging when my husband has just been admitted to the hospital to treat an infection....

The thing is, he and that are a huge reason why I blog. It is my desire to blog my way through the craziness that is Mark's chronic illnesses. For me/us and for others. It's our story, our journey.

So I will keep writing.

September 11, 2014

The View From Here: An American's Reflections on England

The View this week is coming from Jill Robbins of Ripped Jeans and Bifocals.
(Great name for a blog!)

She is RIGHT NOW in the process of moving from England back to Texas.
I wonder if the two places have anything in common....?
I don't know, but Jill is sharing here with us today what she
will and won't miss about living in the UK.

Reflections Upon Leaving England

I’ve lived in England for almost four years. Today, I’m writing at my dining room table instead of my usual corner of the family room (my normal practice is to write while keeping one eye on what everyone else is doing, which is my standard disclaimer for anything I write that might suck). I’m displaced because today is moving day. I’m surrounded by chaos and packing crates, watching two moving dudes named LeRoy and Steve touch everything I own.

September 10, 2014

My Anxiety

For me, anxiety manifests in mainly two ways:
  1. All the terrible, awful, scary things that can happen flash in my head.
  2. I become Chicken Little crying, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"

September 8, 2014

Ask Jen: On Motherhood, Caregiving and Time Off

Reader Question

Asked by Peggy, a fan of the Dancing in the Rain Facebook page: How do you deal with being mom, wife, caretaker, etc, with little to no time for yourself?

My Answer

I saw this on Facebook several months ago:

To which one person replied, "Not if you are a mom!"

It kind of annoyed me.

September 5, 2014

The Third Day of 3rd Grade

Again this year my son AJ was thoroughly into summer and enjoyed it just as much as he absolutely could....

All the way up until he met his new teacher and saw his new classroom. As he was looking around the portable, he stopped and said, "I'm kind of excited for school to start."

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather!

September 4, 2014

The View From Here: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Kayso, this week's View will be perfect after the heaviness I posted yesterday.
Because I snagged the one and only Darcy Perdu of So Then Stories!

The name is fake, but her funny writing is so NOT.
She has been selected as a BlogHer Voice of the Year the past two years, as well as
1st place in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in the blog category.

Here ya go!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – In Fact, Don’t Sweat

So then…Jennifer Hall of Dancing in the Rain invites me to guest post for her series The View From Here where writers share their “unique perspective on life”.

My immediate thought is, “Holy Cow! Does Jennifer’s website have enough ROOM to print my voluminous LIFE philosophy? I could go on for 47 HOURS on this topic!”