Let the cake fly.

In which I shove a cake into my brother-in-law’s face, allow my child to try a margarita and narrowly escape a religious debate at the in-laws.

It has been a whirlwind the past few weeks.

We had the kids back for one weekend in July. Tomorrow, they’ll all be back as we settle into our school year routine again. This is a very good thing because Seth just isn’t himself when they aren’t around. He’s there, but not all there. Every single parent knows the feeling…

The kids were also excited to be back together. They hit the jungle gym, each in their own way, each with their favorite trick.

They posed for this picture proudly. Waiting for me to get just the right shot. All three happy to be together again.

They were back for grandma’s birthday.

I took her on a zip line tour, thanks to ZipZone–Columbus’ first zip line canopy tour. With a zip lining trip in Vancouver in my very recent memory, I thought zipping through an Ohio forest would be a cinch. I was completely and entirely taken by surprise. 

See those stairs there? They lead to a sky bridge (think Indiana Jones) and then a platform in the trees (with no guard rail). You’re completely safe the entire time but the sky bridges and the tiny platforms got me.

One of our zip lining comrades took this picture. As you can see I’m half crying and laughing. Dale Ann is just loving every minute, no fear in that woman at all.

After our zip lining adventure, everyone came back to the house. Uncle Ben, Seth’s brother Ben, and I got in our first fight. It involved me stuffing a giant piece of birthday cake into his general face area. We both made up shortly after knowing that we’re stuck with each other until death do us part. But I’m pretty sure he’ll never cuss in front of my kids again.

Did I mention that I’m a bit feisty? There are a few personality traits of mine that I have never been able to shake, even as I age. The first is never being able to keep my mouth shut when I should, I always speak my mind. The second is that I am always completely honest about my feelings. This is a direct result of the fact that I can’t lie worth a shit. As a result, my friendships with many are brief but those that make the cut are made to last.

After the caking Uncle Ben and I apologized to each other. He to stop cursing in front of the children and others (it’s not that I don’t, I’m a pirate myself it’s just the context and the frequency and the audience that gets me) and I promised to never take out my aggressive physically (clearly not a good example for the kids either). I love him like he’s my own brother so I act like it and in my family we just let the cake fly.

Seth and Ben took off for South Dakota the next morning. And then it was just my Benjamin and I. I must say – it was easier. For sure. The stress of blending a family with the kids, the ex-politics and the dynamics between the kids and Seth and I – it’s a lot. With that said, just because something is easier doesn’t make it right and I wouldn’t trade my new blended family for anything in the world. But the peace and quiet was overdue and I enjoyed every minute.

Instead of the full 10 days, Seth an Uncle Ben went seven.  On Friday my best friend Monica and I headed to Chicago to meet him with little Ben in tow.

 We stayed at my friend Elizabeth’s house.

A modern day freedom fighter, she’s always fired up about issues most of us ignore. Poverty, the living wage, worker’s rights, the corruption in Washington.  She actually makes a stand against politically motived injustices on a daily basis. It’s her job. Really. And she absolutely loves every minute.

I think she’s pretty awesome.

We miss her living in Columbus but I’m glad she finally made it to Chicago. It’s what she wanted from the minute I met her an in spite of the ex stuff and being a single mother to two boys, she made it happen. All on her very own.

We hit up a fantastic restaurant called Antique Taco, one of many Hipster havens in Wicker Park. The waitress plopped a margarita in front of Benjamin. Not sure why but it all happened very quickly and while he went for the margarita I (as any self-respecting mother would do) went for the camera. The results were to be  expected. Nothing exciting really. Just your typical six year old trying a margarita. You know, happens every day.

In this order, the picture captions are as follows:

1. Hmmm… what is this delicious looking drink?
2. Ugh.
3. Full reaction to the sour limes and permanent scarring of cocktails.

That should keep him away from it all until he’s at least sixteen. Poor kid.

Sometime between the margaritas and the tacos he lept up onto Seth’s lap proclaiming how much he missed him. The two of them are becoming closer and closer. Read about an amazing moment they had recently here.

The next morning, in Elizabeth’s living room Seth and I had a few minutes with our coffees and each other. I am so incredibly in love with the man. Butterflies and sledge hammers, ladies. Every morning, every afternoon, every night. All of the time.

He makes it easy. To love him. He’s easy to love. I mean, the fact that he was single when I found him is a total fluke I chalk up to the universe and karma and mysterious things beyond my control.

But here he is and there we were. So, we spent the day in Chicago.

First, at the Wicker Park Festival.

Then the beach. We took the bus because that’s what people do in Chicago. So much sense, efficiency and conservation. Go figure. Columbus is far from an adequate public transportation system and it’s a shame. I would trade my car for this any day.

Fifteen minutes after we left the house–we were here.

Crowded but so cool, because it’s right there. In the city. The boys were in Heaven.

Monica enjoyed herself, as always. She’s the most laid back girl you’ll ever meet. By the time our trip was over she had declared Benjamin as the first kid she understood. I take that as a compliment of the highest order.

The bag also made it to the beach.

I honestly haven’t put it down since I posted to contest to give it away. Congratulations to Sarah!

You win the cutest straw bag ever! I’ve emailed you so just send me your address. My apologies if there is some sand in it. And to answer your question I thrift shop at the Volunteers of America.

After the beach we went home, passed out early and woke up the next day for the long trip home. That night, back in Columbus, we met up with Uncle Ben for dinner at Dale Ann’s. Her father, who is extremely religious, was there. I had been warned ahead of time by Seth and his brothers to avoid divulging too much about my agnosticism to Grandpa Dale. Unless, of course, I wanted an earful.

I successfully dodged the bullet but little Benjamin did not. Being six and being completely immune to the world of organized religion, I figured it would be good for him to hear another person’s perspective about the origins of the Universe. When Grandpa Dale dove into God and the beginning of mankind, Benjamin proclaimed, “My Mom doesn’t believe in God.”

I sunk as deep into the couch as I could go. It’s not that I’m ashamed but the last thing I want to do is get in another fight with another one of Seth’s family members, let alone the creator of them all. I owe Grandpa Dale my undying appreciation for creating such a fine genetic line.

Instead of telling Benjamin his mother was going to burn in Hell, which I appreciated, Grandpa Dale headed to his car to find a copy of the Bible. He came up short and instead brought out a map of his condo community. Whether it was a map, a Bible or a Koran, Benjamin loved every minute.

There’s a family here. A family, with aunts and uncles and love and warmth. It’s something Benjamin has seen in pieces and parts because my family is so scattered. And this family, Seth’s family, has accepted us into their own.

Flying cakes and agnosticism and all. And as explained to Benjamin on the way home, we all believe in different things. But just about all of us believe in love.

And motorcycles. We definitely believe in those.



10 Responses to Let the cake fly.
  1. Kate Reply

    I followed you over at Miss Single Mamma forever and am happy to see you have a new space for your new life style!! I, too, was a single mom for several years and was lucky enough to meet my prince charming, who had two beautiful boys in tow. We are working our way through this blended family conundrum and while we struggle to find balance and equality, the joy of sharing our love and becoming a family is unparalleled!

    I look forward to seeing more blended family resources available!

    Much love and happiness to you and yours, from one who knows how much patience, understanding, forgiving and love it takes to make it all work!

    – Kate

    • alaina Reply

      Thank you, Kate! Yes, we are working on that resource page… may have to create some of the resources ourselves. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  2. Sharon Reply

    Alaina, you are a terrific writer. Entertaining, insightful, life-affirming, family-affirming – all the relevant and real stuff that’ll bring me and others back every time :)

    • alaina Reply

      Thank you, Sharon!!! You are so kind to say so.

  3. secondtononewife Reply

    I loved this post the most because it captures so much of what we all go through as blended families. It is hard, but beautiful. It is agonizingly worth it. It is all the oxymorons in the world. We can’t give up. We must live through the hard to get to the unbelievably good. I hope your family and mine rides the wave to the end and gives the children the never-ending foundation they are starting to believe they have. :)

    • alaina Reply

      Thank you so much for this comment!!! I hope we both make it there, too! We will, I’m sure. xoxo

  4. Kim Reply

    That was lovely! For those of us who aren’t there yet, the thought of someday blending families seems daunting. But you make it sound very doable, as long as we keep an open mind and know that there will be bumps along the way, but the good, the security and the love, that will definitely outweigh everything else!

    • alaina Reply

      Open minds and open hearts. Don’t let defense or pretense get in the way! Thanks for this comment. I’m so glad you’re here reading along.

  5. Alanna Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I’m going through my divorce with my prideful, soon-to-be-ex-husband and reading this makes me feel like it really will get better. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll find my Mr. Right, but you make me excited to try!! I also got excited reading about your friend Elizabeth as a single mother in Chicago because I am moving there soon. Being a single mother in such a big city with no family in the area scares me!! But reading about her makes me excited too! If other single mothers can do it, I should too, right!?
    Anyway, thanks again! Love Ms. Single Mama and love this site too!!

    • alaina Reply

      Yes, Alanna!!! You can definitely do it. It wasn’t easy for Elizabeth, but she made it… took lots of planning. She also has a live in student who pays some rent and helps her with the boys.

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