Divorce and separation are delicate and tricky propositions, especially when there are children involved. Even when things go relatively smoothly and without rancor, it's never easy to divide households - and we're not just talking about toasters. People are people, as Depeche Mode told us, and people bring baggage and feelings and sometimes not-so-stellar behaviour to their dealings with one another. And the complexities don't end when kids are past the age of shared weekends and summer custody arrangements, either. One day those children will be married and maybe have children of their own, and by all accounts it's likely there are years of visits and shared time ahead for parents (and soon grandparents!) at things like birthdays and holidays.
Weddings can be especially difficult. Trying to figure out the table seating arrangements for my twice-divorced family at my wedding was akin to planning a World Leader's Summit, and with only half the riot police available.
It's tradition in many families and cultures for a father to walk his daughter down the aisle to her future partner, but what about in situations of divorce and step families? Who gets the honour? Weddings are a stress breeding ground and these questions almost always arise. But instead of letting it cast a pall over an otherwise special day, one father of the bride created the best possible outcome for the situation.
These beautiful images of selflessness were captured by photographer Delia D. Blackburn at a recent Ohio ceremony:
That's Todd Bachmann, father of the bride, stopping the ceremony briefly to make an impromptu and unplanned pick up of his daughter's step father, the man who helped raise her. Bachman brought him from his seat to the altar to stand side by side as they give the new couple their joint blessing.
This demonstration of kindness and inclusion Bachmann showed his daughter, her step-father, their wedding guests, divorced couples everywhere - and the world itself - was a grand gesture going beyond the borders of these beautiful prints; it is a reminder that the heart does not have a "fill to" level, but rather expands to allow all the beauty and joy one can imagine.
Image Source: Delia D Blackburn
I have three moods: asleep, content, and hangry. I’m a real dream to live with, let me assure you.
My least favourite state is "hangry." Check that – my hangry is everyone else’s least favourite state. Hangry is so different than hungry because “hungry” can be managed whereas "hangry" needs a police escort and close supervision. Hungry means being satisfied by a broken granola bar you found in your purse but hangry needs to be fed. Over the years (and after several interventions), I’ve developed a few coping strategies to manage the Hangry:
Note: OWN YOUR LABEL. You are not perfect. Your minivan fuel tank is often low. You’ve written school notes in crayon. You get crabby when you’re hungry. But if you’ve ever found your 8 year-old scoping apartment rental ads, your hungry is actually hangry and you need to make some changes.
Say it with me: I get Hangry. The first part of solving a problem is acknowledging you have one.
Sure, this sounds simple, but are you doing it? If you've identified hanger as an issue, I'm guessing "no." You're likely packing a lunch of some sort for your kids every day, so why are you excluding yourself? Even if you work from home, or don't happen to leave the house that day, having something prepared and ready to eat will make hanger all but disappear. If you have a thermos of hot soup, or some chopped fruit and nuts at the ready, you can simply throw it in your bag to take on the fly. Here's a good rule to follow: If you will be travelling farther than 150 meters from your refrigerator, bring a fanny pack of trail mix and a gallon of water.
You've slept through your alarm, and the dog didn’t come back after you sent him out to pee. Your kids are going to be late for the third time this week and it's Wednesday. You are starving. You’d love to just say “Screw it all” and hit an all-day buffet but who has time for sitting down when it’s your week for carpool. And you're out of gas. This is where I throw on my multitasking cape and head to a Shell.
Luckily, Shell Stations have you covered. You can literally grab a hot and fresh meal while getting gassed up. I went with a toasted roast beef and cheddar sandwich that cut the hangry, but my conscience said: next time you stop, you're getting the fruit salad (also available at Shell!).
But I digress. Get some fuel and please – for the sake of everyone around you – eat something.
It's also important to stay caffeinated. Yeah, technically caffeine is a drug, and we use it to cope with things like “life” and “children” and “being awake.” YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT? MAYBE ASK ME AGAIN AFTER I’VE HAD A SANDWICH. I've been known to indulge in a hot coffee freshly brewed at the station too ('cause multitasking). And it makes me especially happy to have so many choices for my java – everything from flavour shots to lattes.
...and visit them often. Hangry is no match for a chocolate bar or empty calorie snack. You're out running errands, and maybe you don't have time to stop for lunch and still make your appointment. You need real food, real fast, and by making sure you have a few great friends who turn out a mean batch of muffins or killer lasagna, you can eliminate your hanger AND have some great social interactions. Try to spread your "friend base" out strategically in your area, so there's never a sandwich or bowl of soup far away. If you've made bad decisions resulting from hanger and have no friends? Choose Option #2.
Here’s the straight goods: You can’t afford to lose any more friends to your hangry beast and if you run out of gas on the highway no one is going to come for you. Eliminate the possibility and face the day with a full belly and... gentler vocabulary.
So many places in the community offer food now. I've had cappuccino and cookies at the nail salon, deli meat samples at the grocery store, and full on mini meatball subs at the local big box retailer. If you can arrange your daily schedule around the places that offer the best free food, there's almost no excuse to go hungry. Sure, the dentist may pull the wrong tooth and bill you $500 for the "privilege," but there's a mini-muffin basket in the waiting room, so really, who's the winner here?
Also, is that a pear tree in your neighbour's yard? I bet you could scale that fence...
More specifically, visit them during school lunch hours, especially if their school offer a hot lunch. Believe me, nothing makes a teenager happier than seeing their mom in the cafeteria line. Arrive early to ensure you get first dibs on "Noontime No-Meat Surprise." Be a "cool mom" and save a seat for your teen so you can eat and bond together over a cafeteria table. Hey, you're partially funding their education with your taxes, so it's fine. You're making memories here, Mom.
Is there anything better than TV? I mean good old fashioned boxy television sets, not that bullshit 6 inch screen on your iPad mini, or worse – your cracked laptop screen. Call me old school – a quasi-luddite, even – but I prefer my TV how I like my men: big, square shaped, and turned on.
Here’s some of the good (and not so good) stuff coming through the glass this week:
(Note: Get some rest – Wednesday is going to be a long night. Asterisks * indicate brand new shows, and as such, are likely doomed to failure.)
The Big Bang Theory
The gang of lovable nerds (plus Penny) return tonight and "leaked" preview footage shows a wedding scene. We left Penny and Leonard engaged last spring, but if I know television, a botched wedding ceremony is pretty much par for the course in keeping sitcom relationship tension alive.
The Price is Right
Sure, there may not have been a huge cliffhanger at season's end last year, but still we want to know: Will Drew Carey return as host, and if so, what will he look like? Besides, what else will my kids watch during our annual miss-school-for-a-week-barf-athon? Thank you Price is Right, for giving us something to vomit to since 1972.
It's new. Some girl has lots of tattoos? I don't know; I hope they used a reputable parlour. I give it 10 weeks.
Celebrity Name Game *
Team #NPH all the way. Here's a celebrity name game: I named my kids after characters on The Golden Girls and The Color Purple.
I SWEAR TA GAWD THEY ARE BAAAAAAAAACK. Kermit is back, you guys! But Miss Piggie is not thrilled about who he brought with him, and there is bound to be tension as we follow the crew on their new behind-the-scenes show. Warning: This incarnation of The Muppets is adult(ish) themed, so let's pray to whichever deity you serve that doesn't mean "adult" in a Frog on Pig action kind of way.
Fresh Off the Boat*
From Wiki: "The story follows the course of Eddie Huang's Taiwanese family as they make their way from Chinatown of Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida to open up a cowboy-themed steak restaurant in 1995."
Um, hijinks ensue?
I love this show because nothing I've seen since Roseanne has been able to show a blue collar family as they really are: tired, overworked and underpaid, eating take out burgers on old furniture. You should watch this show even if it's just to make yourself feel better because you have a stainless steel refrigerator and enough energy left to NOT name your third child after an essential building material.
If you have kids old enough to understand general sitcom format and who think you arrived on here on Earth already 38 years-old, this is a crucial show to add to your family's weekly TV lineup. Make a fun drinking game by taking a shot every time one of your kids asks, "What's that?" when the Goldbergs use a telephone, VCR, or computer.
Black-ish is one of my fave shows from last season and I was glad to see it was renewed - the humour was a bit canned in the beginning, but the cast is fantastic (Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburn, Raven Symone...) and after a only a few episodes it had taken flight. Black-ish also has some of the funniest but most realistic kids on television.
Boobs. Accents. Physical comedy. Is it any wonder it's America's favourite show?
Team #Deacon 4-ever and DON'T EVEN START with me on Luke Wheeler, who, may I remind you, sometimes acts like a bit of a dick. I have no insight as to season spoilers, but I have every confidence that the season premiere will include:
People who don't really want to spend time together will hang out on a beach waiting for death. Saw it already; it was called "my first marriage honeymoon."
Law & Order: SVU
I think this is the terrible one about horrific sexual assault cases? Why are we watching this show? Hey, why don't we cancel this series, and if you find yourself really, truly missing the gruesome-themed content, perhaps use your cable fees money to go on a long vacation or hire a therapist.
Doctors and nurses spend their awake hours treating patients at Seattle Grace Hospital. Between saving lives, they boink each other in a complicated square-dance like rotation, fall in love, and then ultimately die in horrible accidents or of incurable diseases. It's a critical hit almost every year because we love doctor shows and also boinking.
Last Man Standing
I hadn't heard of this one, and I was sure it was a new show. But, I see on Wiki that it's starting it's 5th season (?) and stars Tim Allen (??) Wasn't that show called Home Improvement? Apparently this show has him surrounded by woman - his wife and three daughters - as he tries to run his outdoor equipment store. I forsee laugh tracks and lots of thinly veiled "lady parts" jokes. HARD PASS.
Is there anything more entertaining than watching an eager, enthusiastic entrepreneur have their dreams crushed under the $300 heel of an arrogant and cold-hearted business investor?
No friends; no, there is not.
The Amazing Race
Can we race these people to the ends of the earth and then push them off, please? Twenty seven television "cycles" is 26.5 too many to watch bickering spouses and passive aggressive siblings in-fight compete against other similar "teams." If I want to experience that shit in my house I'll offer to host Thanksgiving.
Blood & Oil*
Have you seen Dallas, either of the times it ran as a series?
Yes -> Skip this show.
No -> Skip this show.
Old white men discuss unsolved crimes set to a gentle background sound effects of a ticking clock. Sometimes there's a lady in a skirt and sensible pumps on set, just for shits and giggles. Want more info? Ask your Grandfather.
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