My oldest stepdaughter, Simone, is getting married in less than a week. Woohoo! I'm so excited and thrilled for her. I first met Simone when she was 7 years old and now she's 24, and has just finished up her first year of medical school. She's always been one of those people who "plans her work, and works her plan." She's got grace & style, and a whopping load of intelligence & humility. After attending her bridal shower a few months back and looking at the photo of the four moms, (his mom, his step mom, her mom, and myself, her step mom), I've had time to ponder over being part of a blended family. Her dad and mom divorced when she was very young. Her mom remarried, and I'm married, obviously, to her dad. Additionally, Simone's fiance's parents are also divorced, and remarried. And to further confuse the situation, Simone's mom's parents are divorced and remarried. So the happy occasion will include a big gathering of family that includes sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, step sisters, half sisters, step moms, step dads, and step grandparents. You might be shaking your head at this point, and thinking, "yikes!", but I feel blessed. As we've all gotten older, the so-called fractured family has moved closer together by attending theater performances, viewing volleyball tournaments, celebrating high school & college graduations, and now a wedding. It is a privilege and an honor to know Simone's very extended family, for through it all, we have not lost sight of what's important--to love and support our children. As Hillary Clinton said, "It takes a village." Our extended, blended family is like the bamboo. Chinese culture holds bamboo in high regard. Many Chinese believe that bamboo "combines upright integrity with accommodating flexibility"...and has an "ability to cope with adversity and still stand firmly without losing its original ground" ( http://www.livingartsoriginals.com/flower-bamboo.htm). We have not lost sight of our original ground. In a future post I'll share some of the creative touches that I've contributed to the festivities, but for now, I just wanted to share my awe and love for Simone and Bryan, and our blended family.