I remember well the moment I rang my mother to tell her that I had started dating an older, divorced father-of-two. I was halfway through a one-year trip to Canada, and her voice came through loud and warm from Australia. “That’s great, honey!” she said. “What’s he like?”
There was no hint of surprise, because she’d married a “package deal” herself back in the 1970s. I grew up in a blended household, and learned early on that family is what you make it. Sure, my eldest two siblings had a different mother, but that was moot. We were a family, and that was that.
Those lessons have come in amazingly handy in the six years since I made that phone call. I stayed in Canada, married my wonderful man, grappled with immigration and became a stepmother to two hilarious teenagers. And last year, we waded into the expensive, emotional world of IVF.
Our chances were almost unfairly good. (The issue was one of “plumbing”, due to a vasectomy my oh-so-responsible husband had after the boys’ arrivals. The painful and pricey reversal-effort had failed.) That didn’t make it any easier, though. The financial stress, the injections, the hormones, the mood swings… believe me, it ain’t a breeze. And underpinning it all is a deep, cold fear that it isn’t going to work.
But work it did, almost too well. We are now pregnant with twins, and they’re set to arrive 20 years after my husband first became a dad. It’s all a bit crazy, but it’s our crazy. And I’ve discovered a couple of added bonuses:
1. My husband might have had kids before, but he hasn’t had twins before, so we’re both heading into unchartered territory.
2. The presence of two squalling newborns is likely to be the best safe-sex lesson my stepsons ever get.
So welcome to our little part of the world. If you’ve navigated blended waters like these, leave a comment below and let us know how it’s going. Because, to rewrite Tolstoy, every interesting family is interesting in its own way.