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I was thinking today about families. My mom is coming to visit this weekend as she does every month or two and I look forward to her arrival for many reasons. My kids absolutely love the time that Grandma has to dedicate specifically to them, which then gives me a bit of a break. I myself like to spend time with her as well. And she generally takes us out to eat one night, so I look forward to an evening out at a restaurant – something we can’t always afford on our own. Ok, so that’s a bit of a selfish reason, but hey, I’m being honest here.

I’m very glad that my kids have the chance to know their grandparents – all 4 of their grandparents are still alive and well right now, and hopefully will remain so for some time. My own experience was much different as my mom’s parents were both deceased by the time I was born, and my dad’s parents were gone by the time I hit early elementary school. I only have a few memories of them and my younger brother doesn’t remember them at all. I’m glad that my kids will have the chance to create memories with and of their own grandparents since I never really had that chance.

Like many other families today, my own is somewhat blended as a result of divorces and remarriages. Even the question, “How many brothers and sisters do you have?” is getting harder and harder for many people to give a simple answer to. In my own case, I usually just state that I have one brother since going into the half and (previous) step siblings would require a lot more time and effort than I think most people are really interested in. Then again, they are (or were in some cases) a part of my family, and a part of my life in one form or another.

So, in honor of Father’s Day coming up, here’s my entire family description – since it’s based pretty much on my dad’s life. My dad’s first marriage produced two children – my half sister and brother. They were pretty much grown when their parents divorced and then my dad married my mom. My half-brother, Rick, lived with my parents for the first couple of years until he himself got married. My half-sister, Linda, was married soon after my parents were. I haven’t seen Linda or her family (she has two boys and I have no idea if either of them has any kids) since I was 16, which was 20 years ago. Rick has one son, Adam, who is married and himself has 2 boys. It must have been odd for my dad to be having children himself at the same time that his older children were – I am only about a year older than my oldest half-nephew and my younger brother has half-nephews who are older than he is. Adam’s two sons are around the same ages as my own kids. I have one younger brother, Donnie, who is my full brother. Our parents divorced when I was 20 and my dad re-married soon afterward. For 10 years, we had a stepmother, a stepsister and two stepbrothers. And 5 step-nieces. Donnie and I never really felt like part of that family – mainly because we were so old when our dad re-married, so that we never actually lived with our stepmom. And because stepfamilies can be fleeting – my dad and former stepmom divorced a few years ago and I haven’t seen or talked to any of my former step siblings since. At 78 years old, my dad is unlikely to marry again, but he does have a steady girlfriend, so I suppose you never know. My mom has never remarried.

So that’s the long version of my family. Confused yet? 🙂 Hopefully my kids’ will never get so complicated – it’ll be hard enough to explain my own to them someday.