So two years after my mom passed away, my dad got married again. This was nine years ago now—and my dad himself has since died—but that was an interesting time in my life. The woman he married was his brother’s widow, my aunt. At the time I described our family as going from zero to Jerry Springer in one fell swoop. And when my cousin came out after the service starting to say that now this made her both my cousin and my step-sister, I cut her off before she could utter the words.
The wedding took place in Michigan where I grew up, at a church I was unfamiliar with, and a pastor who obviously thought the best part was that the bride would still have the same married name. After the ceremony, my siblings and I dutifully made our way to the reception only to discover that two of my cousins-now-step-siblings had changed into shorts and t-shirts over the course of the ten minute car ride. “It’s their mother’s wedding,” I muttered to my brothers and sisters. “You’d think they’d make more of an effort to look even partially presentable out of respect for her.” We shook our heads and tut-tutted to each other as we tried to enjoy a beverage and wondered what the future held.