We’re one of those families. You know…the blended type. Our nine year-old daughter has one father, two Dads, one mother, two Moms [now], three grandmothers, a sister, two dogs, two sets of mutually exclusive friends, a couple of homes and a fucking shitload of cousins. It’s a little dynamic, a little confusing, but, becoming way more common these days. According to this completely random website that I have not researched in the very least, but, must assume is accurate since it is on the internet, at least one-third of all children in the U.S. are expected to live in a stepfamily before they reach age 18.

So, when we received the invitation to attend her Father’s marriage that took place this past weekend, we didn’t even flinch. OK…maybe a little. This blended family stuff keeps you on your toes while simultaneously requiring that you don’t step on someone else’s. If you think about it one way, I was invited to my wife’s ex’s wedding. Think about that. This guy spent several years boning my wife and now I’m to drive to Santa Barbara to deliver him a present that I still haven’t bought yet. OK, I admit that’s a bit of a stretch and is certainly not the frame of mind in which I attended the wedding. In fact, our attendance didn’t even have anything to do with my wife’s ex or his new [and fabulous] wife. We were there for the daughter that we all share.

We had discussed the wedding and our attendance many times with my stepdaughter’s Father and how it was a given that we would be there based on our collective read of our shared daughter. I’ll admit that it was a little weird for us watching the barefoot, beach sand ceremony include our daughter who was “beginning her new family” – according to the nuptials – with no mention of her existing family that includes her Mother, her sister and I. I mean, her Mother aside, I’ve been in her life since she was 1.5 years old and we’ve all lived under the same roof as a family for 5 years now. So, it was an effort NOT to feel a bit shunned as the wedding guests celebrated her new family with nary a hint of acknowledgment of the fine job we’ve been doing all along. Yeah, I’d be lying if I said we didn’t both get a little possessive at that moment. Most of those folks don’t know us – or more specifically, ME – from Adam. And I think that bothered me a bit. There was no pat-on-the-back for a continued job well-done or, honestly, no welcome outside a couple of key players like her Father, his family and bride. Of course I realize this was a wedding – NOT OURS – and our role there was as a show of support for our daughter and nothing else. So, I’m not trying to make this all about ME or us; don’t get me wrong. It was just emotional.

But that’s all part of this blended family thing. There are sooooo many intricacies, dynamics, and emotions to navigate. When it’s all said and done, though, what really matters is that our daughter has the fucking corner on LOVE. Two sets of parents that love her equally? There are some kids out there whose reality is barely a quarter of that. That fact made guzzling tons of Stella on my wife’s ex’s dime a little easier to swallow.