When Juan and I began discussing marriage, like most couples, we talked about all the serious subjects, including children. However, when considering remarriage with kids attached, and the complexity of blending a family, the topic of children takes a totally different spin. I felt strongly that I wanted to have another child, while Juan felt strongly that he was done having kids. He already had two girls, Olivia, age 7 at the time, and Erica, age 5. I had Nico, age 4. Together we already had 3 kids. Wasn’t that enough? Besides we had shared custody with the other parents, so every Wednesday night, when the kids went to the other parents, we kind of celebrated. We enjoyed each other, in the way that adults enjoy each other. Juan really enjoyed our Wednesdays and alternate weekends together. Without kids. I enjoyed these times too, but I still had the “baby aches.” When J realized how much it meant to me, and how maybe it was a deal breaker, he relented. On the condition that if we tried to get pregnant, and if we were unsuccessful, we would not go to extreme measures to have another child. We would try for 6 months. If after that time, I was not pregnant, we would take it as God’s way of telling us that our family was large enough. After all, I was 40, and kids are expensive and exhausting.
Five months after we married, I was pregnant. On Valentine’s Day, Juan and I called a family meeting, and announced to the kids that they would have a brother. We explained to them that we chose that day to tell them because that holiday was about love. We had a lot of love. We loved all of them, we loved each other. We wanted to share more love, so we decided to have a baby. We showed them the video of their brother, taken during the ultrasound. Their baby brother, created out of love. The night before we went to the hospital for my scheduled C-section Juan and I went to dinner and celebrated. After the delivery, Juan brought the kids to the hospital and walked them into my hospital room. Diego was asleep in his basinet. Olivia saw him and cried out loud, “He’s so beautiful!” Then she burst out in uncontrollable sobs. Erica and I started crying too. Pretty soon it was all a big weep fest. I think we knew our lives would be forever changed. We were right. Diego changed all of us. Sure, the kids argue, and like most families, there is sibling rivalry. But Diego is more than just than just their brother, and our child. Diego is a connection to all of us. We are family, because Juan and I married, and we are family because of Diego. He connects us to each other.
Case in point, at a recent family gathering, we had Juan’s family and mine together for a barbecue. Juan’s nephews and Nico all get along wonderfully. They are “Step” cousins.
Nico is a very loving cousin to my nephews. They are 1st cousins.
Diego is the cousin to both sets of nephews. Diego is the blood line that runs between us, among us.
Juan likes to say that Diego is the bridge that connects us all. I agree. I also like to say that Diego’s a great excuse to tell J, “I told you so.”