Last year, for Cami’s tenth birthday, the four of us went above and beyond to give her a wonderful birthday. We all get along and try to keep life drama-free. This is not always the case with all four sides of our extended family. It is one thing to be married and have in-laws, but quite another to be divorced and remarried, with eight sets of grandparents. Each grandparent is quite different, with their own set of morals, and limits . Not everyone prefers our blended approach to parenting. They would prefer we were the traditional divorced family, who does everything separately, not happy about spending time with all of us.
Cami did not want to have four separate parties. She decided on a family dinner, with Bob, myself, her father, her step-mother, and all of her siblings together. We all went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse (her favorite) to celebrate.
Yes, the four of us took all four children out for Cami’s birthday, and yes, we all sat at the same table together.
I think Jeff and Bob were probably a little nervous anticipating awkward feelings, but it went very well! Bob, Cami, Ayden, and I sat on one side, while Ali, Molly Jeff, and Peyton sat on the other side. Ayden entertained us, dancing and clapping in his high chair while the wait-staff danced, laughing when Bob picked up a slobber-covered cup, and pulling the birthday girl’s hair.
Peyton attempted to gnaw the table and kept her dad very busy. I noticed while we had dinner that caring for two babies at once is like juggling, with several balls constantly in the air. It made me appreciate Molly, the girl’s step-mom all the more. She takes care of two babies, AND puts up with my teenager!
I brought a homemade birthday cake, and we left the restaurant full and happy. The girls both seemed to enjoy the night very much, and commented after we left that we are the best parents EVER. There were a couple of memories brought up from when Jeff and I were married, which I always worry will make Bob or Molly uncomfortable. Other than that, it went very smooth. I hope that one day we can try to have a holiday together, but I’m not sure the men are quite ready for that yet!I think it is more awkward for both Bob and Jeff than it is for me, Molly, and the kids.
I think we have put our children, all of them first, in every way. We all sat at the same table celebrating our daughter turning ten, and we made her feel special and cherished, which is the best gift we could ever give her. This year we are planning a birthday party in our home, and all four of us will be there. Since her birthday is a week before Christmas and many of her friends will have family obligations, we are having a costume birthday for her at the end of this month! I will take lots of pictures, and will write about it.
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.