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March 21, 2012

My father’s wife sent me an email the day after I first spoke with him.  It was exceedingly kind and welcomed me to the family.

I cried when I read it and tried to write back a “that’s cool” email.

She is coming to visit me this Friday, along with two of my siblings.


My solution to help myself calm down is to shop.

Yesterday I picked up the kids from school and headed to Bath and Body Works.  I bought nice candles and cute hand soap.  Then I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (only stores with “Bath” in the name for me, apparently) and bought a “Colors of Spring” tablecloth.

Then, sweating slightly and dragging increasingly unhappy children, I went to Michael’s to buy a spring wreath for my door.

Hugh and I have lived in our home for almost ten years.  How many times have I put a wreath of any kind on our front door?


I raced through the aisles at Michael’s, grumpy children lagging further and further behind, frantically looking at dogwood wreaths and tulip wreaths and magnolia wreaths and…

At that point I realized that I had two options left.

I was either going to have a complete breakdown at this craft store, sobbing and holding my plastic wreaths – or I could leave immediately.

I left the cart, overflowing with wreaths, in the middle of the store and headed out to my van.

“Mommy!” Lucy wailed. “You promised I could pick something out of the dollar craft bin!”

“We. Need. To. Leave. Don’t. Speak. Right. Now.”

I got in the front seat, took a few deep breaths, and headed home.

This family stuff is totally foreign to me.  Will they like me if my house is cluttered or doesn’t smell like expensive candles?  If I’m not wearing make-up and weigh too much?  If my children misbehave?

What does it mean to be part of a family, really?

Will they love me if I am KINDAFREAKINGOUTALITTLEBIT when I meet them?

Will they love me if I don’t have a wreath on my door after all?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    March 21, 2012 6:11 pm

    Steve R here, long time reader, first time commenter. I play games with Hugh.

    I want to thank you for sharing your life in writing. You’re gifted, have a great “voice” and relatable. I appreciate your honesty, vulnerability and humility.

    From what I can tell, you have all the resources you need to navigate this experience. It is unfolding at just the righ pace. There is no “right” way, no correct answer for this. You’re asking the right questions, and having the right responses. This is not an easy thing to go through, and I don’t think you are able to mess this up. They have already unconditionally loved you, they just didn’t have ways to show you. “failure” in these relationships would be to present them a false self, or to not engage them at all. You’re obviously not doing that, so fear not dear sister.

    I can relate to having an incredibly hard time relaxing into relationships, to let my heart risk pain and rejection. To quote Shakespeare, and I attest from experience, “it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”. I am so excited for you and for your whole family: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten …” Joel 2:25

  2. jan permalink
    March 21, 2012 7:11 pm

    And this is why I wasn’t going to tell you we were coming until we were on our way. I knew there would be the “oh, my hair” and front door wreath moments. relax. we are cool, and none of us are going to win any good housekeeping or debutante of the month awards. see you Friday

  3. stephanie Renner permalink
    March 22, 2012 7:53 am

    Just be yourself. You are wonderful. And to be apart of a family, a real loving family, is they see the good in you and love you for that. And they see the bad and still love you anyway. Consider how you feel about your kids and what you feel when you think about them; that’s what your dad and step-mom feel too. As they get to know you that feeling of love and adoration will just grow more in their hearts for YOU! You don’t have to do anything just sit back and enjoy!

  4. March 22, 2012 2:06 pm

    Gurlfriend!! You need to chill!
    They are going to love you just like me and “B” do ❤
    Plus, you and Amanda have made that house into a lovely home so don't sweat it. It's the love of the family and the Holy Spirit that makes a home, not some plastic made in China wreath! oops did I say that? We LOVE Chinese!!!

    Your friend…Michelle

  5. March 22, 2012 2:07 pm

    OH and I just read my comment AFTER I sent it. Should have had the telprompter because I didnt mean to make you and Amanda sound like “partners”. You know what I meant…decorating partners.

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