When my marriage of 25 years fell apart, one of the hardest things for me to accept was the fact that we'd never be an "intact" family again. My three girls and I had to try and find a new normal for several years. Christmas was weird. Birthdays. Holidays. We'd always celebrated these things together as a family of five, and it was very unsettling to try and figure out how to be in a celebratory mood when we couldn't do it together anymore. I didn't want the divorce, but my husband's mental illness and addiction forced me to let go. On top of us being scattered, my kids' father was self-destructing and we were all unspeakably sad about that.
Two years later I met Craig, who had previously been married for 20 years. He didn't want his divorce either, but it wasn't entirely up to him. He had three boys, who happened to be the same ages as my girls. Craig didn't think he'd have another "intact" family again, and honestly I don't think any of our kids thought it was possible either. What are the odds that two broken, wounded families could come together in harmony, especially this late in the game? How could we ever build the kind of closeness we longed for in a family life?
Craig and I got married in 2009. Yes, we are the Brady Bunch; it was the recessional at our wedding. The above photo is of our six kids together last Christmas, and as you can see there's a lot of love there. A lot. We lost what we had and gained something something so wonderful, I never could've seen it coming. Love is always possible, but it may look different than you thought it should.