(Becky's Note: Today I'm thrilled to welcome Angela Ruth Strong to "Talking Among Friends." She shares a wonderful story about blending her family...with a bunny. Enjoy!)
By Angela Ruth Strong
My youngest daughter Lauren has always loved her stuffed animals. Especially her rabbit named Steve. He became a source of security for her when her father left me and moved out of state.
Apparently she thought Steve needed to protect me, too. The first time Lauren saw me talking to a member of the opposite sex in church, she held up her bunny and said in a wee-bunny voice, “My name is Steve, and I like to murder people.”
Thank goodness I was the only one who heard her. But for the first time I realized how scared she must have been at the idea of me falling in love with another man. We talked about it. And it eventually became a joke. Steve got his own Facebook page where he displayed pictures of himself doing things like wearing a surgical mask at the dentist office when Lauren got her teeth cleaned and he posted comments about his crush on the babysitter.
But if any men tried to ask how Steve was doing, Lauren would respond with something like, “He has a chainsaw.”
Enter Mr. Strong.
Jim knew about Steve before he met Lauren. We’d gone out a couple times, and he wanted to take the kids and me to a ghost town in the mountains of Idaho, so I had to warn him. This could have been one dangerous date. But something amazing happened…
The kids didn’t want it to end. I’d learned to follow their lead, and they wanted to hang out at Jim’s house when we got back to town. He ordered Chinese food and my son played on his Xbox while the girls got artistic in his art studio. One of the girls came down with a sketch she’d drawn of the restaurant where we’d eaten in the Idaho Hotel—the only establishment still running in Silver City. Above the bar in the restaurant hung a sign with a gun. It read: We don’t call the police. Jim pointed to the sign in the sketch and said, “It should read: We don’t call the police, we call Steve.” The kids laughed and laughed.
Steve and Jim became great friends. Jim would pretend to let Steve drive his truck or help him rock out to music. He even once held him for ransom, doctoring a picture of the bunny to make him look scared. The kids loved such entertainment. And apparently they had no more need for protection with Jim around.
We bought Steve a tux for the wedding and Lauren tossed him to us during our first dance. Maybe to keep an eye on us … but we considered it a sign of acceptance.
Blending families is one of the toughest things we’ve ever had to do. It takes hard work with sometimes little to no reward. We don’t do it perfectly. But I’ve never had any doubts that Jim and I were supposed to be together. And I owe a lot of that to Steve.
That rascally rabbit helped bring us together. He’s a much loved member of our blended family.