It's hard to remember a life without Wally in it. Come to think of it, I can't remember much about my life before my stepmother Terrie in it either. I have been thinking a lot the past week or so about my life with two step parents in it.
Divorce is a funny thing. I am so grateful that my parents got divorced, as weird as it may sound. I have found that my life has been so blessed because of their decision. Although it was difficult at the time, I now realize that I have not only 2 parents that love and care for me, I have 4. I have had 4 loving and amazing parents for over 20 years now. How lucky I am.
Lets take a trip back 20 years or so.
At the time divorce wasn't easy. I remember staying with my dad at my Grandma Avery's house on the weekends. I used to look into his eyes, get a serious look on my face and say "Dad you have been crying again." He could never fool me. I used to cry when I went back home on Sunday nights because I missed my dad. I remember going to a Barbra Streisand concert with Dad and how he cried through the entire thing. This made me sad, but I understood, even at 12 years old that just because you are no longer with someone, doesn't mean you no longer love someone.
I remember wishing on a shooting star and praying nightly that my parents would someday get back together. How happy I am that wish never came true.
Not long after the divorce a couple of phenominal people entered my life. I'm actually crying as I write this.
Enter Terrie: My first impression of Terrie was a beautiful woman with jet black hair. Terrie was so much fun. She was a woman who never had kids of her own - and who desperately wanted some. I think that I benefitted from this. My first memories of Terrie include McDonalds hot fudge sundaes. I think of trips to the Hello Kitty Store. I think of making chocolate chip cookies and eating 1/2 the dough while watching "Troop Beverly Hills". Time spent with Terrie was SO MUCH FUN.
Enter Wally: Oh Wally. I loved you from the first day I met you. I remember Wally calling for mom and her whispering "Tell him I am not home!" As a kid you don't care about appearances. I didn't care about Wally's yellow Nova. I didn't care about his sweat pants or the gap in his teeth. My first memory of Wally was a Friday night. My cousin Adam was sleeping over and Wally came over. Adam & I were playing "army" or something of the sort. I pretended to throw a bomb at Wally who without hesitation, fell on the floor and started shaking. Oh man, this guy was awesome. I was hooked.
Through these two people I saw something change in my parents. I saw a weight lifted. I saw smiles more than tears. I knew I loved Wally & Terrie and partly this was because I saw joy again in the lives of my parents.
Dad and Terrie were married in October and Mom and Wally followed shorty after in May. Both weddings were wonderful, but both were also hard. You will see red eyes in nearly every wedding picture from those days. I think for me, being only 9-years-old I realized that Mom and Dad would never get back together. It just became very real at their weddings.
Following the weddings there were of course adjustments to be made. Toes were stepped on, arguements occured, feelings were hurt, etc. Soon I realized how great I had it. I now had not one but 2 houses to open Christmas at. I now had 4 people cheering for me in the stands at my softball games. I had 4 parents to go to when I had problems, and each had their own special touch.
One of my favorite memories of Wally was when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I was "going out" with Brandon Hansen. During lunch his friends came over and "dumped me" for Brandon. My 11 year old self was very upset. At dinner when asked why I was so somber I quickly replied "Brandon dumped me." The family started laughing (wouldn't you?) and I quickly stormed to the bathroom to cry. About 1 minute later I heard a gentle knock on the door - and there was Wally. Wally said to me, "I am so sorry about Brandon. That must be so hard for you. Is there anything I can do?"
That always stuck with me. This to me is Wally in a nutshell. That goofy guy with the sometimes terrible jokes who many times has the best advice.
Terrie was also someone I could confide in. She knew about "boys". I remember she took me over to - who was it? - Josh Egan's house to ring the doorbell and leave cookies for him. Terrie has been the one parent who really spoiled me. Terrie is the one who is first to offer money - if things are tough because "That's what parents are for." Terrie was also a spiritual example to me for many many years. I never felt judged by Terrie. She always understood me, no matter how bad I felt, she offered a great amount of comfort.
Today my relationship has grown with each of my parents. My parents all get along. We go to family parties and all 4 are present, cracking jokes, talking, working together on family problems. I am so lucky. People think my family is weird. I have never had to deal with divorced parents that won't talk to each other. I have never had to worry about that. I love Seth's family for being the same way. Patricia and David aren't together but they still love and care about each other.
Isn't this the way it should be?
Dad and Terrie have been together for 20+ years as well. Through their marriage our family has grown with the wonderful additions of my sisters Michelle and Aly. We have had great times as a family. I remember lots of great trips and cruises. I remember loads of practical jokes (mainly from Terrie).