Several of you have been curious about my moms—Mom Heather and Mom Pat—and you’ve asked how my family tree actually lays out. So I thought I’d explain it a little. (Warning: There are a lot of photos in this blog, and it didn't work to create a collage, so you'll have to do some scrolling. . . . )
My dad married Mom Heather in 1960.
They had four children; I was the oldest. After me came Kurt, Leslie, and Vonna. (Kurt and I are the kids in this picture.)
When I was five years old, Mom Heather and Dad got divorced. Then Dad married Mom Pat.
They had three boys: Mark, Chad, and Cody. (They only had Mark when we took this picture.)
Mom Heather was going through a difficult time, and so we lived with Dad and Mom Pat, who pretty much raised us. Mom Pat has always been a mother to me, and I’ve learned much from her. When I got a little older, I reconnected with Mom Heather (who had married Paul, who is shown in this photo), and we formed a real bond. I discovered that I inherited much from her.
Out of respect and love, I call both of these wonderful women “Mom” because they deserve the title and all it represents in so many ways.
Dad has since married two more women—not at the same time, of course! He married Jo in 1985; they later divorced.
Then he married Justine, his current wife.
I admire and respect these women as well, but I was grown and married with children when they entered our lives, and so it seems very natural to just address them by their first names.
As an aside, Megan, our oldest daughter, is not my biological daughter. Although I love her, she is Sterling’s daughter from his first marriage. Growing up, she mostly visited us on the weekends and holidays, and she has never called me “Mom.” I understand and respect that as well.
Now, I’m not an advocate of divorce. I think it creates very challenging situations for everyone involved. However, I am proud of the way our family has dealt with this situation and the acceptance and love we have all learned to show. We truly do all feel like we’re one big, happy (most of the time) family. When appropriate, we’ve even all gathered together for certain events, and that’s quite the experience!
I've also included photos of each of my siblings, starting with me, and our spouses, just in case you were interested.
Shelli and Sterling
Kurt and Joni
Leslie and Danny
Vonna and Sean
Mark and Monique
Chad and Eliz
Cody and Shelley
So, that’s my family tree in a nutshell. I’m so grateful for my family—all of them, every branch, twig, and leaf. I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today without them!