Bonus Mom


“BONUS MOM.” That’s what my step-sister has always called my mom.  I never gave it much thought really but today I’m thinking I really like that way of looking at it.

I’m one of those people with a family tree so tangled you could know me ten years and all not have it figured out but basically I have 5 sisters. I have two “real” sisters, two step-sisters from my dad’s house and one from my mom’s house. Yep, pretty much all girls.

As a child I wasn’t too happy that my parents were divorced.  I was even more unhappy that they entertained thoughts of get remarried.  It’s hard to believe how long ago that was.

What can I say, it was the 80s!

What can I say, it was the 80s!

Today my dad and step-mom are on a road-trip celebrating 31 years of marriage.  (My mom is close to an anniversary too- but I’ll save that story for another post. I’d hate to give away all my bratty secrets in one day!)

I remember being six years old and the only thing I had in common with my six year old soon to be step-sister was a mutual dislike of the pending vows we were about to witness. We had our own plans for how the world should turn. We decided the only way out of that mess was to join forces and enact “Operation Break-up”. We even mapped it out on construction paper.  I wish I still had that floating around in my endless pile of childhood souvenirs.

One day Amy and I decided that if we poked holes in their water bed, that would surely create the deal breaker we were in need of.  We watched up and down the hallway and then snuck into their room. We had safety pins in hand. Unfortunately for us the rubber mattress was thicker than we’d anticipated.  We made a few pokes and nothing happened!

Suddenly we heard footsteps down the hall and we scampered into the bathroom and hid in the built in laundry hamper.

Let’s just say sitting on your dad’s dirty socks while he steals a few moments with his soon-to-be bride should have taught us a lesson right there,  but I’m afraid we didn’t give up that easily.

All I can say now is that it’s a good thing we failed so miserably.  At six years old I couldn’t see I was gaining more grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a huge family to love and be loved by. I was getting a second mom to help push me through the bumps, bruises, and broken hearts of life and a father.

Yep, I thought she was stealing my father but really she gave him back to me new and improved.  Sure we had some rocky roads,  but she gave him true happiness and it made him a better man for sure. I wish I had seen the bonuses all along.

As five teenage girls,  we laughed at them for being so cheesy when they still held hands on the way to the mall. After nearly 18 years with my own husband I can see how truly precious that really is.


That’s me in the back in the pink sweater and massive eyebrows…

Step parents rarely get the recognition they deserve but I was truly blessed to have 2 moms and 2 dads.  Growing up divorced is never easy, but its not all bad and we can’t blame the parents for every little conflict.  At 10 years old, I knew what I was up to when I played one against the other to get my ears double-pierced, but since it no longer matters who gave me makeup first, I can finally sit back and see the bonuses.



My step-mom taught me not to sweat the small stuff. (BELIEVE ME! That’s a lesson I didn’t get from my mom or my dad!) She also taught me to French braid, which proved quite handy in my life of being a big-sister and even more handy as a mom and an Aunt Tiff. Most importantly, she taught me that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn. We aren’t defined by our mistakes, we just have to face them and move on. Growing up things weren’t always perfect, but I’m finally old enough to see the bonuses!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to some of my parents- may 31 years be only the beginning….

And they still hold hands like cheesy teenagers!

And they still hold hands like cheesy teenagers!


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