by TERI NORSWORTHY
Anyone that meets my family for the first time is somewhat amazed at the cohesiveness in which our blended families get along. Married, divorced, steps, adopted and significant others all getting along because we are one big happy family. I like to think we live pretty close to 1Corinthians 13 :4-8.
This would not be possible without The Holy Spirit within us and the imprinting of my first husband's mother Mickey Killman on our lives. She had three of her own children and ended up raising three of her nephews and me too. I was just 16 years of age when I married Woody Jr. and did not know one thing about domestic work. Raised in a country store/restaurant, we always had domestic help because my mom and dad worked 14-hour days. We moved into my husband’s parents home right after we married. They were very patient and careful not to criticize. Teaching me how to do laundry, change linens, wash clothes and dishes and vacuuming the proper way. Her husband taught me the foundational methods of cooking. You know, fried eggs in bacon renderings. Yummy!
Mickey never referred to me as a daughter-in-law; she called me her daughter. That sentiment was always special to me. We were only married four years and divorced after we had our two boys. Mickey never called me her ex-daughter-in-law. Even after we went our separate ways, I remained a vital part of their family and they made every effort to remain close to my boys and me until the day she died.
Later in years, my ex-husband and I both remarried. When my husband said his vows to me, he said he would love my boys and my family as though they were his very own. I am not sure he knew exactly what all that would include. Once when my ex and my “wife in law” were visiting us in Houston, they were both baptized in the little church we were attending. We watched a real miracle that night. When I was invited to participate in their eldest daughter's wedding, I felt honored to walk down the aisle with my ex and his wife. He always introduces Linda and me as his wives. When they go to church with us, I like to introduce him as my first husband. We get many funny looks!
Our boys both married, had several children, divorced, remarried, and had more children. Between all of them and their significant others, our family tree has increased to 21 children. Our son’s first wife went on to remarry and we took them into the clutch too. We never refer to any of them as “step”. We have family reunions and gatherings, play games, eat and have wonderful fellowship. When my youngest son's daughter had her first baby, there we all were, all the current spouses, exes, grands, and great grands, waiting anxiously with our faces plastered to the delivery room's windows.
When I looked around at that motley bunch, I shook my head in wonder. How in the world can this be possible? Some of them were exchanging recipes, emails and others sending the latest shot of the new baby and mom! It was and is only by the grace of God.