National Poetry Month 2014, Week Two: My Poem “Blended Family”
April 11, 2014
When Samantha and I married last Saturday evening, we weren’t just bringing together our hearts, bodies, minds, and souls; we were bringing together our two families.
Each of us has three children from our previous marriages — my two boys and a girl; her two girls and a boy.
Comparisons to “The Brady Bunch,” the eponymous 1970s TV series, with which we grew up, are ever-present. “Except we don’t have Alice,” we usually reply.
We wanted our children to be incorporated into the ceremony. And they were: my oldest son, Jasper, was best man; Samantha’s oldest son performed “In My Life” by The Beatles on guitar for the processional.
Walker, my younger boy, was ring-bearer, while his twin sister, Elizabeth, and Samantha’s youngest, Sasha, were “bridesmaids bearing flowers,” decidedly not “flower girls.” Samantha’s older daughter, Erica, was asked to give a reading during the community blessings segment of the ceremony.
I was tasked with finding an appropriate poem for Erica to read.
“Perhaps something about a blended family,” Samantha suggested. Scanning the Internet, I came up empty. How could there be no poems about blended families? (Or, at least, poems worthy of the name in this poet’s opinion.)
The poems I found were either over-written, overly sentimental or just plain bad. This seemed a shame in an age when blended families are almost commonplace.
So I wrote one. Luckily, the poetry group to which I belong, “52,” came along with a weekly prompt for a poem on praise.
Erica did an amazing job reading it at the wedding and we were all very proud of her — and not a few of us were moved to tears. This was not so much a validation of the poem’s value, but because she delivered it with so much feeling. I post it here in the hope that other couples on the path of blending their families may be searching for a way to honor such a beautiful and complex union.
Here is my poem in praise of the “Blended Family”:
When families are blended
it’s not like a smoothie,
where all the ingredients
combine to make a new flavor.
In the multiflavored family,
each flavor remains unique,
each name remains its own.
There is joy in blending families,
but sometimes tears, too.
You don’t deny the one for
the other, you are more
together, yet equal apart.
You are “and” rather than “or.”
There is more of you–
So praise our blended family,
let it bring abundance into all our lives.
Let there be strength in our numbers,
as there are now more shoulders
to lean on, more hands to lend,
more hearts to be kept in,
more love to share in its union and bond.
And let each of us
make the best that is all of us
shine more brightly, now, together.
–Scott Edward Anderson