Friday, March 16, 2012

And Baby Makes Eight!

Each month as I prepare to write my "blended family" post for the Refine Conference website, I find I need to pull out my old photo albums. Looking through the pages of our family pictures brings me back to that time and place, in this instance, the news of a baby on the way. The first two years of our marriage brought a barrage of changes, both physical moves and as a family unit. We prayed through those changes, one by one, until we settled in a new suburb and opened a business, putting down roots in a community where we hoped to stay.

As it turned out, we did stay, 22 years now and holding. Here's how it all began:

And Baby Makes Eight

The first year of our marriage brought a period of transitions, including multiple moves to different homes and jobs. Our new family included five children from previous marriages. John had shared visitation of his two daughters and son, and I had full custody of my daughters since their dad lived out-of-state.

From the first time our kids met they seemed to connect with each other, especially the four girls who quickly paired up by age. The two older girls were only seven months apart, and the younger two only four months. John Ryan, the only boy, was a good sport and played along with whoever let him! Many times all five played together, making up plays they would practice for hours on end and then “perform” for us.

When it was all said and done, John and I opened a business in a suburb on the outer edge of Minneapolis, while his kids moved with their mom to the opposite side of the metro area. Because of the 40-mile distance, their visits dropped from twice a week to twice a month. My girls looked forward to the kids’ visits; it was like having their best friends come for sleepovers every other weekend.

Moving to a new community gave John and me an unexpected fresh start. The people we met through our new business and in church only knew us as a couple, rather than with our former spouses. It further cemented our newly formed foundation, uniting us as one. As we got involved in the community, people commented on how much my daughter looked “exactly like John” or that one of my girls and one of his “must be sisters”. The more it happened, the more the kids learned to have fun with it.

In the midst of all these changes I learned I was pregnant. Our new house—we believe handpicked by God—was perfect for a family of eight, with plenty of bedroom space! When David was born, he became the instant center of attention. With big brown eyes and an infectious smile, David’s presence filled the house with the kind of joy only a baby can bring

The four girls loved helping out with David, and John Ryan was thrilled to have a brother. John and I continued to find ways to make memories as a family. Twins games, weekend getaways, even simple dinners around the table were cause for fun. The bond that had formed between the kids now included the baby brother they all adored.


Written by speaker: Barbara Marshak

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Barbara is a freelance writer with over 150 published stories and articles. She will be speaking to us about the twists and turns along the blissful road of relationships within blended families.


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