My single largest frustration about a blended family is this: Things that would be simple in a 'normal' family are exponentially more complicated in ours.

Take our current adventure. In a standard family, I would take my husband to the hospital for surgery, visit him while he's there, and then take him home. Not any kind of fun, mind you, but only one sentence at least, and a pretty straightforward sentence at that.

But in our non-standard family, nothing is straightforward. We need walls of text.

For example. Miss L wants to come to town for Dan’s surgery. This leads to many possibilities, but I’ll just sum up the two currently under discussion.

Option A) Miss L flies in solo. This means I have to worry about picking her up from the airport either the night before surgery (because, you know, there won't be enough other things going on) or the day of the surgery (a similarly slow day). While dealing with the normal stress level I imagine is standard to your spouse of less than 2 years having cancer and going under the knife, I will also be dealing with the stepdaughter who will literally not be in the same room with me if we are alone in the house together. Which we will be. Alllll weekend. I will also need to keep her fed/hydrated/entertained during the however-many-hours long the surgery takes, and-- my favorite-- be the bad guy who says "Okay honey-- Daddy's tired. We need to go." Plus, I will somehow need to handle any emotional fallout resulting from seeing her beloved bouncy dad laid up in a hospital gown hooked up to tubes and things. I could comfort my own kid, but how to comfort a kid who keeps me at arms’ length?

Then we have Option B) Dan's ex-wife suggested bringing Miss L herself. This frees me up from chauffeur and entertainment duties, but also means I will be passing the time during Dan's surgery hangin’ with the woman who has made our lives -- I guess, 'extremely challenging' is the most polite way to say it. For hours. I anticipate an atmosphere similar to Hoth, except with polite chit-chat. After the actual surgery, I will have to put the polite chit-chat face on every time I drive to the hospital, because she will be visiting regularly with the daughter who won’t be alone with me. They will both act as if I am an usurper with no right to be there, just as they’ve acted since I walked in the door 5 years ago. I will worry that it’s not okay for me to ask either of them to leave the room ever, so I can have time alone with my husband. I will bite my tongue, keep the peace, and internalize miserably because for some reason I don’t want either of them to think I’m a bitch even though their opinions of me are long since set in stone.

See? See how quickly things got ridiculous? And this is the reader’s digest condensed version of complications. This is if everyone plays nice and things go smoothly. My sister-- the lawyer-- suggested I bring copies of our marriage certificate and their divorce decree in case there are any questions about who has rights to medical information. Just imagining any scenario at the hospital requiring either of those two items makes my stomach hurt.

But, this is my family. This is what I signed on for, what I accept in exchange for the there-isn’t-a-word-large-enough blessing of having Dan in my life and Miss G’s. He’s worth every extra convoluted paragraph.

Okay, enough serious stuff. Shake it off.

Tomorrow: lighthearted pictures of me with my niece in my Little Back SideYard.


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