“What is it, Momma?” I questioned, looking down at her balled fist.
“My loves,” she started, opening her fist to reveal a square-shaped diamond
ring, “I’m getting married!”
Jessie and I smiled at my mother and congratulated her soon marriage to
Anthony, her boyfriend of about five years. We gave her big hugs and kisses
to keep the smile on her face. When the small celebration was over, Jessie
and I went back to our room and closed the door.
“What do you think about it?” I asked my sister curiously.
“What do I think about what?” she replied.
“You know what I’m talking about,” I cried. “What do you think about Momma
getting married again?”
Jessie looked down at her feet and shuffled over to her backpack that leaned against the bedpost. She pulled out her reading book, lay across our twin-sized bed, and began to read. Jessie never read willingly.
I tried to remember what it was like when I was her age. When I was in
third grade, I didn’t really worry about anything except my sister and
school. The workload was easy, so my sister took up most of my time and
energy—she could be a handful. Being almost four years older than her and
knowing the ins and outs of Jessie, I wanted an answer. What did she think
about our mom getting remarried?
“Jessie, I asked you a question,” I pushed.
Jessie set her book down across her chest. “I don’t know. I like Anthony,
and I think he’s a very good guy. He’s been nice to us. Vicki and Junior
are OK, too.”
Oh yeah, I forgot about Vicki and Junior
. Junior was Anthony’s son, and he was almost eighteen. He was quiet and
didn’t really talk to us much, but I figured it was because he was much
older and wouldn’t be getting a stepbrother for a new family
As for Vicki, Anthony’s daughter, she was my age, but she was much taller
and stronger than I was. She liked to boss us around when we were younger,
and she played rough. I didn’t really like playing with her at first.
Fortunately, now that she was a little older, Vicki had grown out of her
bossiness and kept to herself.
“If you don’t like it, you know Momma won’t marry him. We just have to tell
her,” I reassured Jessie. I knew that my mother would never do anything to
upset us, especially marry someone that we weren’t OK with.
“No, I like him,” Jessie blurted. “It’s just going to be a lot different
It was true that our lives would change. We would have to move into a new
house, probably Anthony’s condo farther south in San Diego. We would also
have to share a room with Vicki, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.
It had been almost seven years since my mother and father had divorced.
Although my dad visited us every weekend and Jessie and I knew that he
loved us very much, Anthony had also been very kind to us. He made sure we
had what we needed and took good care of my mother. He did not take the
place of my dad, but he was very close to being one of us.
So when my mother decided that it was time to marry Anthony, I couldn’t
object to her happiness. Jessie and I could not take that happiness away
from my mother, especially knowing how much she loved Anthony.
“What do you think it’ll be like living with Anthony, Vicki, and Junior?”
Jessie asked, pulling me away from flashbacks of my parent’s divorce,
meeting Anthony, and thinking about having a new stepfamily.
“It could be fun,” I chuckled. “Maybe we’re overthinking it too much. And
hey, we would be having more girls in the house! Do you know what that
means?” I raised my eyebrows at Jessie.
“Hmm . . . bigger slumber parties?” Jessie guessed, a big smile beginning
to spread across her face.
I smiled, pointing at her box of nailpolish and fake manicure kits.
Jessie squealed with excitement, jumping up and down, but then stopped
suddenly. “Wait . . . why do we need to have a new stepfamily anyway? Can’t
we just stay as we are?”
Jessie’s question caught me by surprise. Wanting to explain everything to
her, I settled for the only way I knew how to answer.
“Well, don’t you think we should accept Anthony, Vicki, and Junior into our
family? It’s like when someone new decides to join our church, or when we
are making a new friend.” I sat down on the floor, patting the side beside
me so that Jessie could take a seat. “God takes us as His children and
accepts everyone, and He expects us to do the same. We are called to love
one another, and right now, God is giving us that opportunity.”
Jessie lay facedown on the floor, kicking her legs in the air and placing
her hands on her chin. “OK,” she giggled. “I think I can do that.”
Knock, knock, knock
. My mother opened the door slowly, poking her head through the doorway.
“What are you two talking about in here?”
“Momma,” Jessie and I said in unison, “when are you getting married?”