For anyone to truly understand who I am and what I’m about, you probably need to know a bit about those closest to me. My family is my everything and for better or worse, they define who I am and what I believe. Without further ado…
The House: The house is not technically a family member, but it is where most of the family events take place, so it is important to understand it’s role. The house is a triplex that is owned by Man of the House. We live in the basement and are currently in that special place of hell that people refer to as remodeling and expanding. Once it’s finished, it will be amazing. While under construction, we’ve got a little more than 700 feet for 7 humans and 2 dogs. Sometimes, I run errands to get some personal space. (My old strategy was to sit on the toilet endlessly, but as we only have one bathroom at the moment, that one fails me more often than it helps.)
In the garage, which is now a remodeled studio apartment, live Man of the House’s best friend from the Army and Man of the House’s best friend from the Army’s girlfriend. They’re cool, we hang out sometimes, but for the most part, they do their thing and we do ours.
Upstairs is where shit gets shady. The Upstairs is inhabited by Man of the House’s ex-wife. Yes. It blows. For every single reason that is flitting through your mind at this very moment, it is heinous. I knew what I was getting into when I moved in though. Here’s why I did it: their kids get to see BOTH of their parents every single day. I would give anything to be able to provide my kids with that kind of security. I even asked their dad to move into the apartment complex next door. So yes, it is awkward. Yes, it makes for some interesting power struggles. No, we aren’t best friends, but we share a common goal: we want the kids to be happy.
Man of the House:
Oh my sweet, sweet, Man of the House, where do I begin? I guess you should know that he is 9 years older than me, which doesn’t really get in the way of anything except for when we listen to music together. We have a lot of the same musical preferences, but once in awhile he will throw in something that was written before I was even born. Starting this summer, Man of the House will be a stay-at-home dad to all five of our combined children. I expect a bit of spilled blood and am trying to rearrange my work schedule to limit the amount of time that he is left so helplessly out numbered, but I think that they are all going to do great. A season pass to the pool and a weekly trip to the Mickey-Donald’s with a playland, and I think it will be the kind of summer that kids’ dreams are made of.
Man of the House is also a retired military service member. Like full on, served 21 years, retired. He joined when he was still in high school and doesn’t know much about life outside of government agencies. From stories I hear from his colleagues (because he is far too humble to tell them), at the peak of his career he was a very important dude and an real life American Hero. At the moment, he’s tired, defeated, and working through some serious PTSD. If anyone tries to downplay it or tell you that PTSD is not a real thing, please punch them in the face on my behalf. It is a real, scary, debilitating illness that affects not only the soldier, but everyone that soldier loves, hates, talks to, thinks about, or looks at in the grocery store. He’s well-treated and recovering, but believe me when I say we’ve been through some shit.
Mini Me Extreme:
Why do I have to add the extreme? Because Mini Me just isn’t sufficient. Not only does she look like me and share my mannerisms, but she’s got my attitude. Cute, right? NO! Have you ever gotten into an argument with yourself about why you can’t wear shorts to school on the first of March??? Too many of our discussion have ended with, “because I’m your mom.” That’s it. I have no better reason. I have lost all of my wits trying to negotiate. Respect your elders, damn it.
MME is also a very sweet kid. She’s a bit socially awkward, but has a sense of humor that is far beyond her years. (Gee, wonder where she got that from?) She’s reached that darling upper-elementary girl age where she knows just enough to get herself into trouble. I think they call them “Tweens” these days. I call it Ohmyfreakinghellhowwillthischildeversurviveherteenageyears.
The Shortest One:
The Shortest One is not the youngest, just the smallest. So small that we had to have dwarfism ruled out, in fact. What she lacks in size she makes up for in sass. She is brilliant and knows how to ask all the right questions (to make a situation ridiculously awkward, that is). She is a social butterfly and the center of attention in any group she’s in. The best descriptor that I’ve ever hear of her is “spicy,” to reflect the fact that the little lady has a temper. Her token phrases are: “I’m not tired!” at bedtime and “but it’s gonna take for-ev-eh!” when anything she is waiting for is more than a millisecond into the future. She’s the kid who has given me the most gray hairs, just because she’s the kid who is constantly requiring insta-care visits for head injuries and asthma attacks. She’s also a kid who knows how to make her Momma proud.
A year and a half ago, I would have told you that the boy was the tiniest terrorist known to man (even though he is anything but tiny). This was the kid who, at 11 months old, took the baby gate off of the top of the stairs and turned it into a sled. The kid who was power-washing my kitchen with the sink sprayer and then waterboarded me as I tried to stop him. The kid who has locked himself in and/or me out of so many different places that I think I could be a professional locksmith. He has mellowed out a lot though. I still remember the first time I went looking for him because it had become too quiet and he was kicked back looking at a book. He HATES change but is willing to go with the flow if given enough warning. He is an incredibly sweet boy who helps me make dinner every single night. He’s a little Romeo who has all of the ladies at daycare cooing over him day in and day out. Before you worry that my boy may have been abducted by a pod person, rest assured, he maintains his slightly naughty reputation by torturing his sisters.
I’m keeping info on Stepkid #1 and Stepkid #2 short and sweet only because I don’t feel at liberty to share too much information without consulting their parents. The important part is that they are really, really sweet kids who have stolen my heart. I can’t imagine life without them (except for those rare moments when all of the kids are out of the house and I remember what having a complete thought feels like).
Bitch and Puppy:
So, what should you do when your house is a construction clusterfuck and there are already five kids and a dog running all over the place? Why, you should get a puppy! That’s how they finalize your diagnosis of being REALLY mentally ill. Bitch and Puppy are slowly, ever so slowly learning how to live under the same roof. All at the cost of shoes and carpets.
So, there you have it. Our little crew. Sure I could tell you all about Mother Dearest and Baby Brother and Baby Sister, (ooh and Judgey McJudgeypants Dad and Stepmom) but I think I should keep it to the nuclear for now. If ever, you are reading my blog and think I might be insane, well, this post should just justify those thoughts.