Commentary by Stephanie Sullivan
Although we have known each other since we were teenagers, my husband and I have only been married for three years. We lost each other in college, and when we found each other again, we brought not only ourselves into the new relationship, but two children apiece.
Blended families have unique challenges, but they can be incredibly beautiful. I look around the raucous dinner table at our big brood and I marvel that we are here. Six very different people, some who chose one another, some who didn’t, are more than coexisting. We’re thriving.
When my husband and I started planning our wedding, my immediate thought was to slip away on a romantic vacation and tie the knot in a private ceremony. At some point I realized that in doing so, I’d be satisfying our needs, but not those of our four kids. They’d seen a lot of change in their young lives, and I wanted them to know that not only were we creating a marriage that day, we were creating a family.
We reworked our wedding plans to dedicate a portion of the ceremony to the kids, and rather than leave right away for a honeymoon, we loaded up the kids and headed out on a “family-moon.” Moonlit walks and fine dining gave way to putt-putt and ice cream cones.
Our fourth anniversary is just around the corner, and this year, as we have done every year since the wedding, we’ll celebrate with a family vacation. Six uniquely individual people will climb into a car together and head out for an adventure. We’ll create shared memories. We’ll grow deeper in this new normal. We’ll be a family.