I’ve been lying to all of you. I don’t have three daughters. I have six. My sixteen-year-old, eight-year-old and seven-year-old girls are two-faces, just like this guy, The Dark Knight’s Harvey Dent.
I met my wife four years ago, today, May 13, 2008. What followed over the next six months was a whirlwind in every sense of the word. We started a relationship immediately. My daughter met her two daughters. We told their three respective other families that we were getting married in November. Then we all started living together and created our blended family. It was the kids idea to not use the “step” word. The only steps in our house go upstairs to their bedrooms. While my wife and I expected after-school special like melodrama, what happened was something a lot more realistic. The girls adapted. They kind of settled whatever issues that were out there, on their own. As a result, they spun off completely separate personalities when they were with their other families and, as we’re being told, as their schools.
Our house, and how my wife and three daughters interact with each other, is an adventure. We’re loud, funny, obnoxious, caring, loving, dramatic, and talkative. Good grief do we talk. But when the girls are away from us, they seem to act different. My teenager is quiet, withdrawn, and extremely shy out of our sight. The middle girl, a tomboy, ass kicker, and get in the dirt fun-loving girl with us is borderline girly and much more reserved and sweet away from us. The youngest, a loud, funny, one of kind personality who basically runs our house with her attitude is sweet, demure, angelic when not in our company.
Getting the girls to talk about their lives away from us in an exercise in futility. They just prefer to keep that business away from our business. I brought our middle daughter home last Thursday after several days away. She was wearing pretty hairbows and a skirt. We quizzed her on what the heck she was doing in a skirt. She brushed us off and by the time she left us she had dirty fingernails, dirty socks, and her hair was flowing wildly waiting for her next good time.
Most of my the interaction my wife and I have with other blended families comes from the internets. I’m not sure if my girls two-face ways are normal. I do know they like it that way. Each of them frowns and gets very quiet when they leave us. I’m not sure if that’s their way of letting their mom and I know they’ll miss us or if its them going into survival mode personality to be with their others.
AS my wife and I negotiate how to recognize the day we met because it falls on Mother’s Day, a pay period that sees us broke, and while our kids have something school oriented everyday we have to be available for, I’m struck with wonder about how my girls feel about our four years together. I made sure the teenager had her newest flavored Doritos (why must they have 327 types? Is that necessary), my seven-year-old got to lay down with her mom at bedtime, and my wife was happy. I just hope that we continue to grow together. I’m anxious to hear how those of you in blended families deal with your kids’ attitudes and personalities.
I used to think Three Marlenas by The Wallflowers was about a guy in love with a bad girl who wouldn’t settle down. Then I started to interpret it as a girl who has three sides to her personality to get by in a complicated life. None of my daughters are named Marlena. But I bet they can relate to this song. Here’s The Wallflowers.