I married my soulmate, Terry, in 1998 when I was thirty-eight years old. My Mom babysat while we ran off to Las Vegas a few days after Valentine’s Day. We had an “Elvis” wedding at the Graceland Wedding Chapel and videotaped the whole thing, including a mini concert from our middle-aged “Elvis.”

We had a choice for our Elvis: we could have the thin young one or the old fat one. We chose the old fat one because he would be more like the Elvis that would be living then. He looked remarkably like him and he sang in perfect Elvis manner!

We were picked up from our hotel by a seventies style limousine with crushed velvet interior. The limo was long and sleek- burgundy in color. When we arrived at the little white chapel, me in my long black dress and Terry in a perfectly cut blue suit, we had decisions to make. Did we want flowers? Rings? YES! We bought everything at the chapel, a silk red rose flower bouquet, and thirty-five-dollar rings. We kept those rings for many years until they finally tarnished, and we decided to get “real” rings for our fifteenth anniversary.

Elvis walked me down the aisle singing “Love Me Tender” and stroking his guitar. The minister was great, and Elvis sat in the second row while the ceremony took place. Then just for me and Terry he got up and sang a few songs at our request. It was wonderful though it would have been perfect if we had our big brood of family with us.

Hillary was six, Kendall was four, and Tyler was fifteen. Terry had four kids from previous marriages, Kelly, Stacy, Chad and Krista, and all together that made seven! We called us the Bundy Bunch after that seventies show the Brady Bunch.  We never all lived together at the same time, what with Kelly and Stacy being older and on their own, moving in and out with us as events occurred as they always do. Chad lived with his mother and Krista with hers. Krista was right in the middle of Hillary and Kendall in age and spent summers and holidays with us. Tyler lived with us until we moved to Ohio in 1999.

Summers in Ohio were filled with three little girls laughing and arguing and basically getting reacquainted every year. Christmases never brought all of us together at the same time- there was always one kid, or another, missing. We never had a family portrait taken with all the kids, but we were determined that they were all “our” kids and never have used the term “step.”

Terry is a great father to my kids, though he and Tyler didn’t get along. Tyler was at the age where he was jealous and angry with me for marrying someone other than his father. And he was a difficult kid, getting into all kinds of trouble and hanging with the wrong crowd, sneaking out of his bedroom window at night when the train would come by, so we couldn’t hear him. He told us about this later when he was older.
It took awhile for all this to settle in as blended families are. Eventually everyone came around and I think they all know that Terry and I are meant to be together.   God put Terry in my path at work and we had a great friendship before we started dating.

When I think about my gratitude’s, all of the kids and my soulmate are at the top of the list. I have never had such a love as I have with Terry and all of the kids.

God did that!


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