A Typical Saturday

Wake up, have coffee. Look forward to our wide open, no-real-plans Saturday. In preparation for a dinner party that evening, we decide to walk to Santa Monica Seafood to pick up ingredients. At this point we're not sure how many people are coming for dinner, but at the moment the official tally is five.

On the way, we stop by my pregnant stepdaughter's* apartment. Her mom (yep, that would be my husband's ex-wife) is visiting, because this is the weekend of the baby shower. While visiting, we ask, "So which one of you will be joining us tonight?" Response from pregnant stepdaughter's mom: "Um, we're not sure...can we wing it? Oh, but if we do come, don't forget my sister is here on a surprise visit, and she also brought her daughter to surprise us!"

Somewhere in there my stepson lets us know his best friend wants to come too.

We head to Santa Monica Seafood, thinking about what we need for a dinner party that could be as small as five six or as large as ten. We buy enough for ten.

We come home, decide to relax. Pregnant stepdaughter's husband comes over to drop something off, and when he comes in to say hello my husband asks him, "Are you comfortable on tall ladders?" which then leads to a marathon smoke alarm battery changing extravaganza that involved changing the battery of one particular smoke alarm (the one highest up, of course) multiple times, still hearing a warning beep, until finally the boys decide to yank the whole thing off the wall and call it a day.

Oh, and we also asked him to help us re-arrange some furniture.

Pregnant stepdaughter and her mom come over, happy to see all of us together. And then - TaDa! Pregnant stepdaughter's aunt and cousin show up to surprise her! Mission accomplished!

By now it is close to 5:00pm, everyone happy and excited and already looking at old pictures of when pregnant stepdaughter was in her mom's belly.

And then it was decided - everyone is coming over! Dinner for eleven! "We have swordfish!" "We'll pick up vegetables!" "We already got desserts!" And not long after, we're all celebrating a baby that is due to arrive on December 22nd, joyful and gleeful and grateful for this wild, unexpected band of souls that we all call our family.

* We laugh in our household about all of this "stepdaughter" "stepmom" stuff, and I use the term begrudgingly. But I also want to be explicit about those "titles" to illustrate that sometimes, these kind of "steps" become the most important connections of our lives.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide