There are two fathers in our family, four living grandfathers, and one who has passed away. The complex thing about living in a blended family is after a divorce and remarriage, families become a bit messy. Any type of holiday has the potential to be complicated, especially when it comes to extended families, but we make it work.
This is for all of the dads in our family, especially the grandfathers who began the legacies for our families. Thank you for your hard work over the years, for your dedication to your families, and most of all, thank you for your love and acceptance. You continuously fill our hearts with love.
My father, Jerry Ray Sanders, passed away in March of 2014. Before his debilitating stroke, he loved anything involving animals; horseback riding, dog-training, fishing, exploring the mountains, bird-watching, and leading big-game hunts (he was never crazy about the killing part). My dad adored his granddaughters, and often told us how proud of them he was. He was the most creative storyteller I have ever known, and he always encouraged my creativity. One thing for which I am forever grateful, my blended extended family completely embraced me when my dad passed away, and I know he would be so proud. I love you, Daddy, and miss you every day. Happy Father’s Day!
My husband’s father, Ronald Eklund is a veteran, who served our country in the navy, until he was medically discharged. He is married, with four children, three sons, and one daughter, who also grew up to serve her country in the Air force, and soon to be six grandchildren. His wife, Pat has two daughters of her own, and three grandchildren.In addition to spending time with family, he enjoys going out to breakfast, gardening, watching the latest action movie, and building stuff with his sons. Ron is always ready to make us laugh, and is beyond proud of his children. “Glad you got to see me,” is one of his favorite sayings. He is currently in eager anticipation of his sixth grandchild, due anytime!
Dennis (Denny) Heng is one of the bravest and kindest men I have ever known. He is father to three sons, one with God, and four grandchildren he loves spending time with. Not only active in the church, Denny is the living example of a Christian. Attending prayer meetings, multiple mission trips, visiting people in the hospital, and anything else his congregation or community needs. When my ex-husband and I first separated, Denny and his wife embraced me, keeping me close in the family through the entire divorce and beyond. The entire family accepted my husband, Bob as family, which makes them even more special to me. Denny honored my father and I by reading scriptures at my his memorial service. Currently fighting cancer, although part of the time you would never know it, as he still tries to stay active in the church and do as much for others as he can. A lover of old westerns, a hot cup of coffee, and quality time with his family, Denny is truly one of the best people I know.
Jeff Heng is the father of my daughters, Ali, and Cami. He also has two little ones with his wife, Molly. Jeff is the embodiment of a self-made business man. Starting from the ground up as a young man, he had a dream of a legacy for his family. Working from sun up long after the last fingers of light spread over the horizon, he pushed himself day after day. Teaching our children a strong work ethic, and passing along his amazing business mind. Jeff enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending Sundays with his family. He also has a great sense of humor, and a tender heart for animals.
Robert (Bob) Eklund is the wonderful man who met me and decided to be my husband, and father to my two girls. With no children of his own when we met, he had some learning surprises along the way. He loves teaching the girls to garden and cook. My husband spends many hours helping with homework, running Cami back and forth in the afternoons during the school-year, and rarely misses a school program. He enjoys planning sleepovers, birthday parties, and family activities. Cooking has always been his passion, and he enjoys sharing it with others. Step-parents are just amazing to me, because they take on another person’s children with all of the responsibility, and often very little credit.
Both my ex-husband, and my husband are able to share their hearts, and their time with our girls. Both of them have attended the same family events on many occasions, for the sake of our family, which makes them amazing dads.
All of these men are the foundation of our family. Even though they are from different backgrounds, they are able to blend together, and get along for the sake of our family. Thank you, dads, for all that you do!
Photograph of our blended family shoot, 2013 by Photography by Bethany.
Trish Eklund is raising her two daughters of thirteen and sixteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife. Trish is the owner and creator of Family Fusion Community. She is also the owner and founder of Abandoned, Forgotten, and Decayed, a photographic adventure in the abandoned and the forgotten. Trish’s photography has been featured on Only in Nebraska and Pocket Abandoned. Follow on Instagram, Facebook, Facebook-Family Fusion Community, and Pinterest. Trish is featured on The Mighty, Making Midlife Matter, and on The Five Moms. Trish is also regularly featured on Huffington Post Divorce, as well as Her View From Home. Trish also has an essay in the anthology, Hey, Who’s In My House? Stepkids Speak Out by Erin Mantz, which is currently available. The first book telling the story of blended family life from the perspective of the stepkids.