Erica reading the poem at the wedding of Samantha and Scott, April 5th, 2014.

Erica reading the poem at the wedding of Samantha and Scott, April 5th, 2014. Photo by David Feldt.

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

 

 

 

 

Our JourneyThis is a very special April for me, and a very special first poem for this 2014 edition of National Poetry Month. Tomorrow, Saturday, April 5th, I am getting married to my best friend, soul mate, partner, and fiancee, Samantha.

Ours has been a long road with many obstacles, detours, and diversions to finally arrive at where we are going to be on this certain April day.

I wrote a poem for the occasion. Actually, I wrote it for the poetry group to which I belong called 52, which is challenging me to write a poem each week during the year. We decided to print the poem on the back of the program for the wedding (see photo).

Poet Jo Bell (whose work I will feature later in the month) started group 52 and supplies most of the prompts for this virtual poetry workshop that numbers over 500 members worldwide. (You can find the prompts here: 52.) One week, the prompt was to write about Journeys. It was the perfect prompt to get me thinking about how we got here.

Here is my poem “Our Journey”:

 

How did we get here?
We say it all began with a yes,
But, really, it all began
With an across-the-room
Magnetism, with a searing
Feeling every time I tried to look away.
As if, there was something I had to see,
That only you could show me
And that I didn’t know you had.
What was it? You’ve shown it
To me almost every day since.
A fabric rent and become whole again,
A mystery with a resolution
That surprises us, every time.
A face as if seen through glass,
Scratched or etched
To a fine filigreed, subtle design.
No, no, that’s not it.
It’s more like glass that’s been glazed
With a pale, soapy film,
Which, once it is rubbed off,
Is clearer than the glass itself.
The two of us on separate, nearly parallel paths,
Not knowing we were looking for each other.
So many times, our paths nearly crossed,
But didn’t. Near misses we can only attribute to –
To what? Some kind of cruel,
But beautiful joke played by the Fates?
Nevertheless, here we are,
Together at last or again or finally.
On a journey together that results in a walk
Together down another path
On this certain April day.

 

–Scott Edward Anderson