How We Became Truly Blended

The Facts:

  • I had my first daughter Rachel when I was just 16 years old.
  • Chris and I got married on 1/21/11 after 2 months of dating.
  • During our 6 year marriage we had two kids, Lucas & Joanna.
  • After Joanna was born in 2015, the romance began to fade.
  • Lucas spent 4 years in and out of hospitals for a fatal illness.
  • I met Mike in August of 2016 at a mutual friends concert.
  • Chris and I got divorced in October 2016. (No, I Didn’t Cheat)
  • Mike has 2 adult kids Destiny & Dan from a previous marriage.
  • I got an apartment with Mike, Des & Dan in December 2016.
  • I spent my days driving back and forth to be with my kids.
  • In January 2017, Mike & I became pregnant with Harrison.
  • Our apartment home was foreclosed on in mid April 2017.
  • Chris suggested that Mike, his kids and I should just move in.
  • In May of 2017, we all became one giant blended family.
  • Lucas’ almost died from blood loss due to acute colitis in June.
  • Michael and I got married at the beach on July 2, 2017.
  • Harrison was born on the first of October via VBAC!
  • On October 16th, Lucas was admitted to Boston Children’s.
  • Lucas survived a life threatening Bone Marrow Transplant.
  • Our family endured 9 months of strict isolation from the world.
  • In May 2018, Lucas was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD & DMDD.

Yes I Live With My Husband & My Ex Husband

Me & The Dads

Here I am with my ex husband Chris on the left, and my Husband Mike on the right. We are not polyamorous! We get asked that a lot, but we have learned how to deflect negative comments and explain that this situation is our normal. We understand that this lifestyle may not be traditional, nor is it acceptable to most. What we strive to convey is that we did this FOR our children. We don’t have to play what we call “The Divorce Shuffle”. We all get along, and our children get to stay in one place. We all get to pitch in to help out in different ways, and we are happy to do it. It works, because we make it work.

Our story was actually published in The Sun and Daily Mail over in the UK. Check out the links if you wish to read their versions, but be sure to understand that the media doesn’t always get it exactly right. They got the important parts correct, except one key factor. Chris, Mike, and I plan to stay together even when we move. We are not splitting up the Blended Family. However, our older adult children may decide to move on and do their own thing at some point. We support their journey’s, but the rest of us plan to stick together for the littles! Lucas seriously needs a village, and we’ve built one!

Here are the questions we hear the most: What are dinners like in your house? Do you sleep with both of them? Why not get your own place? Isn’t that odd when you try to be intimate with Mike? How much is your grocery bill? Do you get state assistance? How do you get along with Chris? Are you happy? How is Lucas doing? Does everyone share rooms? Don’t you want your kids to grow up normal?

My usual answers are as follows: Dinners are crazy because nobody eats the same thing. We can’t make one meal and have everyone sit down and eat it all at the same time. Unless we get pizza! Any parent of an autistic child understands that something simple like cooking can’t be simple. Nothing is simple! We don’t want our own place. Why bounce the kids back and forth, and pay two mortgages if we all get along? No I don’t sleep with both of them. Most parents get creative and make time for intimacy, there’s no difference here. We could very easily spend about $300 every 10 days on groceries. Not that it’s anyones business, but we are not on welfare or anything like that. Chris and I get along the same way we did when we were married, we’re best friends that live together. Actually he just came in to visit as I was typing, and he decided to sit on me because I wouldn’t agree to go to the store. (I have a Yoga class, and I have to work). Happiness is a choice you make each day when you wake up. Are you happy? I am happy we are doing this, but don’t get me wrong we all have our bad days. Lucas has been medically cleared. HE SURVIVED! His autism, and behavioral issues will be a lifetime challenge. Mike, Harrison, and I share a room. Destiny & Danny have their own rooms. Joanna shares a room with Chris (even though she has a room). Lucas has an amazing room, but can’t manage to sleep along, so Rachel shacks up with him for now. We are currently in the process of building her a new room. We want our kids to grow up knowing that we loved them so much that we didn’t want to separate them from the life they know, and the home they grew up in. For our older children, we want them to see and understand the importance of stability, and working together.

Hobbies & Interests:

  • Lindsay: Acting, Singing, Songwriting, Birth Doula, Yoga, and Writing.
  • Chris: Music, Movies, Writing Music, Live Shows, Collecting Stuff
  • Mike: Music, Being Outdoors, Painting, Playing Guitar, Live Shows
  • Destiny: Working With Children, Music, Photography, Being Creative
  • Danny: Music, Movies, Art, Drawing, Gaming, Works at a Pizza Joint
  • Rachel: Music, Movies, Watching Sheild, OCD, Works at a retail store
  • Lucas: Tornado of Energy, Movies, Music, Acting, Dancing, Swimming
  • Joanna: Dancing, Singing, Talking, Drawing, Wearing Dresses, Lollipops
  • Harrison: Baby First TV, Nursing, Car Rides, Eating, Grabbing Everything
All 9 of Us
R to L: Destiny Joanna Rachel Danny Mike Harrison Chris Lindsay & Lucas

Sacrifices:

We all have our own personal goals, and at times we feel stuck. Isolation was the most difficult thing our family has had to go through. While we are so pleased that our son’s life was saved, the sacrifices we all have made have been stressful. Was it worth it? Absolutely. 100%. Now we have to deal with the magnitude of his autism, and the behaviors that come with ADHD, and his mood disorder. He is all consuming. Our village of people switch off to provide him care and 1:1 attention, and it’s not fair to our older children. We are always on constant “Damage Control”. Our family literally gives up normalcy for Lucas. I could not do this alone, Chris and I couldn’t do it alone. We are truly blessed to have everyone’s help. Lucas needs autism services, and we have had to fight so hard to get him what he so greatly needs. I have learned to be quite the advocate, and I’m also beginning to understand that this is only the beginning.

Autism is tough, and Connecticut doesn’t have the best services. It’s been a challenge to get the right help on board. He’s got a few amazing doctors. Lucas has some serious issues that we need eyes on. First of all I don’t think he’s on the right medications, and I’m not about to go switching it all to cause even more craziness than there already is. He’s physically explosive. If he gets mad, toys become throwing objects. Sleep is not a necessary routine. Sometimes he wakes up at 3am ready to stay awake for the day, and nobody is prepared for that nonsense. He does a lot of scripting, and if you don’t know that that is… It’s almost cute the first several times. Basically he has an incredible memory, and it’s like his “movie freaked mind lost it’s reality button” or something. Name that movie quote without googling it, and we can be friends.

Lucas needs to learn how to self regulate, and he is beginning to understand that he needs to practice calming techniques. I thought that by co-sleepng, and allowing Lucas to breastfeed until he was four years old that he would be so independent, and self assured. Autism just doesn’t work that way. The biting, scratching, hitting, and screaming also isn’t pleasant. I think he is living in fear of the unknown. He is too smart for his own good. He has an incredible memory, and his mind is a phenomenon. He has morbid thoughts, and you know what? This kid has been through more in his 6 years, than most adults have in their lifetime. We understand that, and we cherish every good moment we have with him, but this is no way to live. So we are hopeful that with the right help, we can all move forward and work on ourselves as we help him cope and learn to be happy in this crazy world.

Goals: 

What’s next? Where do we go from here? I would like to see our three oldest children embark on adulthood. They are heading to community college, working to save for cars, and living a little more. Being stuck in this rut has been so difficult, but there has always been a silver lining. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I think everything we have gone through with Lucas’ medical, and mental health journey has made us a stronger family. It would bring me great joy to see everyone’s dreams come true. Nothing happens overnight, and without hard work and perseverance. Consistency is key, and this family has absolutely learned patience and the value of quiet moments. I hope our older kids also know how appreciated they are. What they have been doing is so selfless, and so necessary. They will be better people because of what they have done here. I’m proud of them, and I can’t wait to see what they do as they grow.

Speaking of growth, us adults also have to think about ourselves. Chris needs to work on continuing to make music, and take some time for himself to possibly find love. Mike needs time to play guitar, and to be able to have the time to make things. He’s always coming up with really great ideas, but time is just never on his side. I’m always singing, and writing. It would be very cool to see what the three of us could come up with together, if given the time. Throughout Lucas’ transplant journey I have managed to finish my Doula Certification Training. That was huge for me! We are done having children, so this is a wonderful way for me to experience childbirth from another angle. Babies are pure magic, and I can’t wait to get started.

Another thing that is incredibly important to me is my health. I am not very good with stress management. My eating habits are also not very healthy. I have began to change those things. Learning how to eat nutritious foods for fuel instead of eating yummy food for comfort has been difficult. I’ve also decided that I need a full lifestyle change, and I want to help others. Enrolling into a 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training program was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. Moving my body, breathing, drinking more water, and understanding the science and history of Yoga is life changing. This will be a magnificent lifelong journey.

I am about half way through my associates degree for visual arts. Maybe I will go back in the fall, or maybe the spring. I’m not exactly sure. A few classes here, and a few there, and eventually I will be done. Graphic Design was a passion of mine, and it still is. It would be a cool day job for sure. I just have bigger and brighter goals. However I am learning to finish the things that I start, and that in itself is powerful. Somedays I wake up and I have no patience. Summers are hot and humid here in Connecticut, and it makes me a miserable human. Autumn is beautiful, and it’s just around the corner.

Lucas is going back to school full time in the fall. That will be such a change from last year, and it’s going to be scary for me at first. His whole life I’ve had to worry about illnesses and bacteria. Now I need to just let him go and be a kid! Joanna will start her first year of preschool, and a creative movement dance class. Harrison will finally have some downtime in the house while his siblings are at school. It will be fun, and bittersweet to watch him learn to walk, talk, and see what he likes in this world.

For The Closed Minds Out There:

I must ask you a few questions. If you were in the same situation, would you understand? Can you justify our living situation now that you know a bit more about our sick son? For a moment, can you just pretend like living with your ex, and your current spouse is normal? If there was no fighting, and if you had your own space, would you do this for your children to all live under one roof? Is what we’re doing really wrong? Is there really a right and a wrong? Why are you so quick to judge? Are you truly happy when you lay your head to rest at night? Wouldn’t you do anything you could for your children? Are you doing enough?

What It Takes:

  • Respect
  • Maturity
  • Love
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Gratitude
  • Selflessness
  • Generosity
  • Kindness
  • Work

Aren’t those things what any parent would wish to teach their children? I hope this blog was able to open at least one mind. If that mission was accomplished, then I feel like my effort here was worth it. I never feel the need to explain our situation or defend it. Opening minds is something I’ve always been inspired to do because I truly do believe that some people are just so closed. That’s a cold way to live.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not all rainbows and unicorns over here. We have bad days just like anyone else. Sometimes we all need space and time to breathe. This life is not ideal in any given situation. However for us it works, and it works because we make it work.

“Be The Change You Wish To See In The World” – Gandhi

Peace & Love

Linzy

 

One thought on “How We Became Truly Blended

  1. You are all amazing, strong, dedicated to each other and hell, yessssss…I’d move mountains for my children as you all have done!

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