Tonight my children bounced off of one another and careened around the upstairs and generally behaved with good—if somewhat frenetic—cheer. When I flopped down onto my bed and asked if we would be reading tonight, Chickadee rushed to my side.
“No,” she said, putting her hand over our book (which was still sitting on my nightstand), “I don’t want to read tonight.”
“Really?” For my kids to say they don’t want to read is akin to declaring that they’re not in the mood for oxygen. It never happens. “Why don’t you want to read?”
“I would rather have some quality family time,” she replied, while I swallowed my tongue from the effort of not laughing.
“Reading IS quality family time,” I pointed out.
“Yes, but I would like to just talk.” She settled down on the bed next to me, while Monkey bounded up and nestled into my opposite side.
“Alrighty, what should we talk about?” I knew the answer already.
“I want to talk about moving,” Chickadee said, firmly.
“Okay. Have you been thinking about that?” I pulled her close and stroked her hair. So that I wouldn’t have to watch her roll her eyes at me.
“MOOOOOM. Once you know you’re going to be moving, you’re ALWAYS thinking about that.”
“Yes, you’re right. How silly of me. Okay, what about moving should we talk about?”
We talked about when we’ll be going (sometime after school ends, but also after they go on vacation with Daddy), where we’ll be living (we don’t know yet, but yes, we’ll know before school ends so that we can give our friends the address), and a few other logistical issues.
“Also…” Chickadee paused, tried to keep her voice casual. “What’s it going to BE like, you know, once we’re all living with Otto?”
“Oh, well,” I wasn’t sure where this was going. “It’ll be different, huh? Have you been worrying about that part?”
“Yeah.” She glanced up at me, checking to make sure I wasn’t mad. “It’s just… well… he’s never been a dad before.”
“That’s true,” I agreed. “He’s going to need a lot of help, I bet. And it’s going to be a big adjustment for ALL of us. We’re all going to have to get used to things, and it’ll take some time.”
“Mama? I had an idea earlier. I was thinking maybe Monkey and I could make Otto a book about how to be a dad.”
“Oh, I think that’s a WONDERFUL idea! I bet he’d like that. What sorts of things will you put in it?”
She beamed; I guess she hadn’t expected me to be so receptive to her idea. “Well, you know, like that you should be nice to your kids and not hit them and stuff.”
“I think he knows not to hit you guys, sweetie.” Monkey giggled. Chickadee grinned.
“I know, but stuff LIKE that. Like, I dunno, that he should know that maybe we’re kind of grumpy in the morning. And that we like chocolate milk.”
We talked about the book a while longer (“And it should say that he shouldn’t feed us too much junk food or we’ll get sick!” Monkey chimed in, ever helpful), and then I tucked both kids into their beds and bid them goodnight.
I can’t wait to see the finished book.
Here’s what my kids don’t know: Yesterday, Otto showed me something that made me cry. He found Monkey a tie clip very much like the tie clip he wears, the one that was his father’s and his grandfather’s before him. He told me that he’ll give it to him before the wedding “so that they can be coordinated.” I started to (gently, I hope) point out that if he gave Monkey something, Chickadee would also need something, and he immediately said that he was already working on that.
The bachelor who once had no idea what to make of my kids is thinking of them, thinking of our new family, without any prompting from me. He is getting to know them and figuring out the rules of engagement and soon he’ll even have a custom-made manual.
I am learning to step aside and watch the three of them dance around each other. Where I was once terrified they would never love each other as much as I love all of them, I now watch and wait. They are reaching out to each other, checking back with me for reassurance, and forging onward.
They are loving each other. Slowly, cautiously; wonderfully. It takes my breath away.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. May you know the joy of watching love find its way right before your eyes, this week and always.
Mir, I’ve been reading your blog for over a year. I have spent my lunch hour for the last couple of months reading your archives, and only just realized that Otto is the one you thought was a mistake way back when you started this little venture. What a difference a couple of years make! Good for you (literally) for being willing to see that people change and grow.
I think this is my first comment.
I want to tell you a story. My mom divorced when I was four and remarried two days after my sixth birthday. When I was much older I recall her telling me once that she almost didn’t keep seeing the man I now consider my Dad because I tried to crawl into his lap and he seemed too awkward and uncomfortable with me. She decided to give him a chance. He was and is a fabulous Dad and I wouldn’t trade my relationship with him for anything.
Just … I’m so glad you’ve found your way to each other. I bet someday your kids will look back, just like I do, and think how glad they are that you found somebody (else, I know their Dad is an important part of their lives) that’s been so great for them, too.
Happy Love Thursday to you too!
May we see the book when it’s done. I could use a parenting manual too. ;)
You know I stood between my parents when they got married. You may also recall that my parents didn’t do the “now you may kiss the bride thing” My Dad just bent down and grabbed me up and we had the perfect three-way hug. Yup, not a dry eye in my grandmother’s living room.
What you might not know is that during the ceremony I stuck a little ring (I know it had a boat on it, but that’s all) in my Dad’s pocket — because I needed a ring too. I wish I still had that ring. On that day, I got a new Dad (who could have used that book), a ring, and my Snoopy — who became Velveteen Rabbit Real. I only lost one of those things!!
Otto, the kids, and you will all find your own dance and it will be new and awkward — but you will find your steps and over time it will become so perfect. I’m thrilled for all of you.
This is so very sweet. I would love to see the completed book.
What a sweet story. What a joy it must be to see your new family learn to love each other.
I am sitting here crying because you are so incredibly surrounded by love and joy. How beautiful.
I am sitting here, 2 AM, sniffling and sobbing and smiling my fool head off…what a gorgeous post. You are truly raising two terrific kids, Pretty One ~ and your fiance’ is pretty awesome, too.
Happy Love Thursday to you!
That books sounds like a wonderful idea :-) You’re seriously raised such tremendous kids, and you are definitely to be congratulated. So, Uhh…Congrats! You and your kids and maybe even Otto all kinda rule ;-)
Oh my goodness. That is beautiful.
I can’t tell you how much I’m rooting for you guys.
So very sweet! :D
This post brought tears to my eyes this morning. I’m truly, truly happy for you, Monkey, Chickadee and Otto. You have what it takes to get over the bumps in the road and keep trucking. Someday, you’ll be looking back at the bumps (you kind of already are), and reminiscing with each other and laughing… and those memories are what really make a family!
Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us. It’s such a blessing to me to read your posts everyday!
I think everything will be just fine.
I am crying because that was just so beautiful! That book is such a wonderful idea…something my own kids would do. Your family makes me so happy!
I’m thinking that book they make for Otto has 6 figure book advance written all over it. If nothing else it will be cherished by their new Step Dad forever.
Looks like Chickadee is really coming around. You’ve done good.
Drat, it’s time to get to work, so short reply. Fabulous, Mir! That’s gonna be a family heirloom book, you know.
Awesome. All of it.
I agree. Awesome.
Quality family time indeed. Thanks for the peek at it.
Beautiful post, Mir. Beautiful future as well.
That was so sweet. Oh, and I’m not shedding a few of my own tears. :0
Your kids are wonderful, and so is Otto. This is a beautiful post and I love how they are all thinking of each other so much.
The book will be incredible.
You know, monkey-pattern ties exist . . .
And there is a monkey belt, but it probably would fit Otto rather than Monkey:
A really have no words. This is just lovely – lovely!
Well then–I’m now crying at my desk :-) Thanks for sharing such a touching post.
I hope you’ll share a few pages from C & M’s forthcoming book!
Your writing takes my breath away!
This newly formed family is going to do just fine. Happy Love Thursday indeed.
That? Is just lovely. Happy, happy Love Thursday!
Dang, I should know better than to read you on Love Thursday while sitting at my desk with my office door open. What a terrific post. If I type more, I’ll cry again so I’ll just leave it at that!
Your story gave me chills and filled my heart with excitement for this adventure of you all merging together as a family. What a beautiful way for the kids to express their needs and desires to Otto. And how sweet that he is thinking about his relationship with them as well.
p.s. Do you think when they asked how things would be, they were asking if their time with you like you had at that moment would change. The time to just sit and talk with you and read stories? Just a thought.
Aw, man, now I’m crying too hard to go work out. Which is what I’m supposed to be doing. Thanks a lot! (no, really, thanks!) ;)
Dude… way to make a pregnant woman cry this early in the morning.
Your chicadee sounds like an amazing little person. I am touched by how your kids are trying to figure out ways to make things “good”. That book is going to be truly something to treasure (and probably laugh at too!).
Well crap, I have something in my eyes after reading that.
Love will find a way. :)
Your little darlings are (yes they are, so there!) very thoughtful and insightful children. Otto and Monkey with matching tie clips? Sniff. Quality time, after all.
Mir…I am so so happy for you. Little moments like this are what keep me going in life. All my best…
What a sweet thing for them to do! I very rarely interact with children, so it is so easy for me to forget that they are *actual* human beings with feelings and emotions and all that. Because of that, I am always incredibly humbled and touched when they do something that shows such grace and intuition. You really have terrific kids (and I am STILL giggling about the pointy and difficult scrotum comment).
Mir, I love reading your posts. I almost cried at this one. I hope that my baby will soon have a man to look up to that’s as great as Otto.
Oh, this post made me teary. What a wonderful family. You’re putting together something really wonderful here. Congratulations!
Mir – What a beautiful post. I’m so happy for all of you. And look at these wonderful comments; not only are they full of love for you and your family, but they share some fantastic stories, too.
I’m so rootin’ for your family, too, Mir.
“They are loving each other. Slowly, cautiously; wonderfully. It takes my breath away.”
Wow! This post has me all choked up! Wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with us.
You’re blessed. Enjoy the love.
Wonderful. Just a little over a year into the ‘melding’ of my family with a new husband/dad, and we’re humming along quite nicely. We started with a few bumps, but my kids now know that they can trust their ‘Pappy’ to give them love, support, and discipline. He has shared things with them, and they have responded in kind. I even hear ‘No, I want Pappy to do it.’ sometimes.
I’m so glad that your family is folding togther so well. Good for you all!
i like you – you all sound wonderful. Good luck – although it doesn’t seem like luck has much to do with this grand situation…
many blessings to you!
So many have said this already, so I’ll just chime in with an ‘awesome’ and ‘so happy for you’. Really, this warmed my heart.
You are a blessed woman. My husband could not be closer to his step-dad if he were his biological stop. Their first few years together were an adjustment (the timing hit during his teen years). My father-in-law surely was a saint during that time. They bond they share now is one anyone would envy. Otto is gift to you and will find his way with your children and make them his own.
What a lovely story! Your kids sound too cute! And it’s great that they feel good about sharing their fears, dreams and hopes. Thanks for sharing with us!
I’m grateful there are Thursdays wherever I am.
When i married my husband, his 6yo son was our best man. All three of us exchanged rings. My stepson is 11 now and he still wears that plain gold band, although it has had to be resized once.
Being a step-parent is not always easy, but that ring on his finger symbolizes that we are a family, for better or for worse.
OK – first things first – *SOB*
and second…WTH? How come *I* didn’t get a friggin’ manual?!
What wonderful people you have all around you. They all sound incredible.
this is beautiful.
I just reread it after spending the day with my step-father, who had never had children before he married my mom. Now he is the best father-figure and the best grandfather you could ever ask for. I bet the book will help.
If nothing else, it can give him a grin – my girls made a care-and-feeding manual for my brother’s b-day present today of a pet rock!