Serendipitous

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

The term “blended family” has become pretty popular nowadays, referring to those who have married and brought children from previous relationships to live together as one new family.

But mine was nothing like that. There must be a name for what I had. Chuck calls it a skeleton family, ‘cause he says just when he thinks it’s safe, another skeleton always falls out of the closet! He does not mean anything bad about these new additions, as he has learned to love each one of them, as I surely have.

You see, when I first met my husband he knew I had a mom, a younger sister and a dad who legally adopted me when he married my mom. Little by little he learned I had a step-mom who had two daughters from a previous marriage to my birth father, my step-sisters and a daughter with my birth father who most would call my half-sister, but she is whole in my heart so I never use that term. This was hard to comprehend for a guy who came from a typically normal family, one mom, one dad and one kid; one of the few left in the world.

Just when he was getting to know all of the above, except my birth father who had passed away, I learned that my birth father had a long standing affair with a married woman, and they had a child together thirty-five years before. OMG. I became possessed about finding this sibling. It took me seventeen years to meet my birth father, so I was good and determined that this brother would be found fast. Fortunately, with some help from family members who had previously kept quiet about the relationship, I was soon proudly adding a brother to my family tree.

The worst part was calling this man, an attorney in Philadelphia, and telling him that my sister and I were his sisters and would love to meet him. It was one of the weirdest phone calls I have ever made, and lucky for us he knew about his paternity, but promised his mother he would never pursue anyone on that side of the family because the man who raised him believed he was his father.

Now if you have followed that, congratulations. I know it sounds like a soap opera. As a matter of fact, it would make a great movie of the week! Or maybe it’s too racy for that, perhaps an HBO series!

It’s been twenty-four years, and my brother is an amazing addition to my circle of love. He is now married to a wonderful woman, and we have two handsome nephews, and for Chuck and I who do not have children of our own, nieces and nephews are incredibly precious.

So what would I call my family since we are not a typically blended one?

I decided to check my Thesaurus to help me come up with the right word: “Co-mingled” sounded like something you do to recyclables. “Mish mashed” sounded like a bunch of stuff shoved together in a kitchen drawer. “Adulterated” sounded like something that belonged in a sex shop. “Amalgam” sounds too mathematic.

The one word that truly describes my family is“Serendipitous.” The Thesaurus describes it “by chance discovery,” “unplanned,” “lucky break,” “good fortune,” “kismet,” “divine decree” and “unexpected blessing.” Yes, that’s the perfect way to sum it up. Eureka! Raise your glasses for a toast to all the “Serendipitous” families of the world. Hope they all feel as blessed as I do.

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4 Responses to “Serendipitous”

  1. Diane, I so enjoyed your story about your blended family. It made me smile. Serendipitous is indeed the best word choice for the love that abounds.

  2. Rebecca Baker says:

    I love your story. You have an open and generous spirit.

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