That first few weeks wasn’t easy adjusting, but we did it. Jolly guy and I started to instill a few things to create our new-found combined family. We had dinner at the dining room table every night we could together, we set up a chore chart which no one liked. Each kid would have something to do every day. Being there were six of us, six animals and a giant house to take care of, there was no way Jolly guy and I would be able to both work full-time and figure everything out. So the chore chart was a dinner time conversation. The moans, the groans, you’d think we were asking them to give blood or give up their right arm. There were things that needed to be done and the first thing on my list, ok maybe it sounds crazy and I’ll admit it drives me nuts when it’s not done, but everyone, including jolly guy would have to make their beds in the morning. I get it, it’s a small thing and why does it even matter? Because it does. I can’t get into an unmade bed and it just starts the day off. Get yourself together, get your bed made and start your day. I made lunches and breakfast for four every day except the day jolly guy was off, he was in charge. I made dinner most night and each night one of the kids had to help me. I would teach them how to cook secretly as they stirred and whisked and chopped things. It was also a nice way to spend a little time alone with each of them. The chart worked for quite a while and there was a point system. If you missed your chores three days in a row there was a consequence. Each girl had something they loved whether it was their phone, TV or computer and if you missed three days in a row that thing would be removed for a day. It wasn’t easy to enforce all the time and it sometimes was a pain in the ass. At any given point in time, on any given day, one of us had to be the bad guy either to our own kids or worse to each others. We didn’t have any rules like you parent your and I’ll parent mine, we combined everything and operated as a unit for the most part. There was the occasional “You’re not my dad.” and “You’re not my mother”, but overall we were operating like a well oiled machine. Some nights jolly guy and I would lay in bed and discuss how awesome we were that we had everything under control, how well things were going and how great an idea it was for us to live together. We had money to burn, we had a family forming and we were creating memories that would last a lifetime. Life was good. I felt like I could finally exhale. Like I could breathe a sigh of relief and relax. That’s something I feel like the minute I do I get slammed in the face. Like God is waiting for me to let my guard down to remind me that things are not always as they appear. To not get too comfortable because there is always something lurking around the next corner. I wasn’t going to think like that. I was going to stay positive and stay the course. I would stay right in this moment and not create something that wasn’t there. All my needs and wants were being met and I was somewhat floored by that. Jolly guy and I seemed to have it all at that time. Honestly, when I think about it, it was all so perfect. Yes there was screaming and yelling and tantrums and bills, but there was also fun and laughter and teamwork and hope. Hope that things would stay exactly as they are. Hope that things could even get better every day, hope that we were going to prove ourselves wrong and that we were going to live happily ever after. Stupid stupid girl.