Attending church with my stepchildren’s mother wasn’t a dream I wanted to have fulfilled, but like many unwelcome situations, some dreams can be reality nightmares.
Such was the case when I stepped outside the house on a bright and sunny Sunday morning expecting to drive to a church service with my newly acquired stepson.
Surprise! His mother’s car was parked behind my car, engine idling, and car owner mom in the back seat with one of the daughters. I wasn’t certain exactly what to do, i.e,
- Insist on taking my car
- Climb in the back seat where the adults seemed to be seated
- Go back in the house and forget the part about thanking God in a sanctuary for this awkward situation
- Climb into the front seat with stepson who apparently was going to drive, and/or
- Talk rapidly while crossing town
I opted for the last 2 solutions, with my mouth never shutting as I tried to make this embarrassing setting less uncomfortable. The fast talking technique didn’t ease tensions, but rather added to everyone’s desire to flee the scene.
Introducing ourselves when we arrived at the church just enhanced the discomfort:
“Hello, I’m Paula Fields. I’m Rod’s Mother.”
“Hello, I’m Margo Fields. I’m Rod’s Step Mother.”
“Hello, I would rather be anywhere else.”
“Hello, I think I will just wait in the car.”
But no dodging, we all trooped, down the aisle to a pew that would hold the 4 of us. There we were, sharing a hymnal as we sang ‘Bind Us Together’:
Lord, Bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.
And that’s when I remembered Proverbs 22:6–“The family that prays together stays together.”
This was not what I had envisioned when I walked down the aisle with the father of 4 teenagers. But apparently most folks I talked with weren’t surprised that there would be lots of interaction between past wife and current wife, kids and friends of kids, crowded bathrooms, school banquets, and everyday family disasters.
As my mother said (in her most unsympathetic voice) when I called her crying that I had no privacy, kids were everywhere, and my life was out of control, “Well, Margo, what did you expect when you married a man with 4 children?”
“I don’t know, but not THIS!”