Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's Blood Got To Do With It?

Inevitably in getting to know someone new I get asked a question I always dread. "How many brothers and sisters do you have?" Now for those of you that know me, I'm pretty much an open book and will answer just about any question you ask me. This one, however, is complicated. I have multiple parental units who, themselves have been married multiple times so there are steps and halves and some that they have not come up with a word for. To me, they are my brothers and sisters period. We don't really use those other defining words. What's blood got to do with it anyway?

The Parental Units:

First and foremost (for me anyway) is my Mom, Dottie. She was married 3 times. First to a wonderful man named Joe Cavanaugh. They were both young though and the marriage didn't last long. They had no children but remained friends for many years after. Her second marriage was to my biological father (aka the sperm donor)Bob Brown. And lastly to Audie ~ he is the father that raised me and the only one I call Dad. They were still married at the time of her death in 1982..

Bob Brown was married (and divorced) three times as well. First to a woman named Frances. I'm guessing that he must have been fairly young as well since I think he and my mom were the same age. His second marriage was to my mom and thirdly to a woman named Mary Jane. My memories of her are not pleasant.

My Dad (Audie) is on marriage number five. First he was married to Bernadine. Again they were both very young. Next he was married to a woman named Joan. Details are sketchy but I think the marriage was short lived and they had no children. Wife number three was my mom.Number four is Patty ~ I got to keep her in the divorce. Current wife is Claire.

So now for the brothers and sisters part (And you thought the ABC series had drama!)
I'll go chronologically by age...

First is Billy. He is the son of Frances but not Bob Brown's. I didn't even learn of his existence until I was 20 or so. I've only actually met him a handful of times but he is a really nice guy. Retired Navy. Married to Anne who I also remember being really wonderful. They have three children, Willie, Cathy and Miranda. While I haven't seen him in 30 yrs, I just found out that he lives about an hour from me and we are now Facebook friends and hopefully we'll be able to visit sometime soon. This is the only picture I have of him. It's one of the last times I saw him. He was playing Santa for a family Christmas Party and that's a very pregnant me sitting on his lap.

Next up is Cathy. She is the daughter of Frances and Bob Brown although she was raised by my mom from the time she was 2 or 3. Like I said, we don't use half and step in our family. I guess I was about 14 and walking through a room of the adults chatting and overheard my mom say something about "Cathy's mother." This is how I found out she even had another mother. Shows you just how little blood really matters. Anyway.. Cathy has been married to Bill since she was 14. Yes, I said 14. She ran away from home just after her 14th birthday with Bill (who was 19) and his family. Long story short... they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have three children. Dawn, who has a daughter Tori and a granddaughter, Cortney. Candace who has 3 beautiful girls, Allyson, Shelby and Cheyenne. Colleen who has a little boy (rare in our family) named Jessie.

Maddie is the next in line. She has the same biological parents as Cathy but was raised by her mother. I guess she was a baby at the time her parents split and she stayed with her mother. Again, I didn't find out about her until I was about 20. She did end up moving to South Florida and I got to know her for about a year before there was a rift in the family and I've only seen her once since. I do hope she is doing well and I wish I knew her better. She has two girls. Elyse and Kim and last I heard one of them had a child of their own.

Next is Jo-Ann although in my book she is my first sister. Joey has the same biological parents as I do (Dottie and Bob Brown) and we were actually raised together. We are still close although she now lives in Alabama near my sister Cathy. Joey and I fought a bit when we were younger but as young adults we were the best of friends and had great adventures. She is married and has an amazing daughter, Danielle and a very adorable granddaughter named Abbi. Danielle and I talk almost daily and she's still convinced that she's really mine.

Next in line would be Sonny (Audie the 4th, I believe). He is the son of Audie and Bernadine. Both Sonny and his sister Terry (she's up next) lived with us off and on in our growing years. When he wasn't in Fla with us he lived in Texas. Sonny and I have always gotten along well. I loved having an older brother around and he was a real cutie. All my friends had crushes on him. He was married twice. His first wife was Sherrie (Sonny & Sher!) and they had a little boy who died in a car accident when he was a newborn. They were both young and their marriage didn't survive the tragedy. His second (and third) marriage was to my friend Mary. I loved Mary like a sister and still miss her. They have my niece Trish who I adore and she has two children. Maddie and Brayden. Real cuties!

Terry is next in line. Terry is also the child of Audie and Bernadine and was raised with Sonny. To say Terry and I didn't get along when we were younger would be an understatement. We are only a year apart and always shared a room in the years they would live with us. It was a team Terry or team Barbara kind of thing and we got along about as well as Edward and Jacob! We are older now and have more of an understanding for what each of us was going through at the time. While we don't speak as often as we'd like, we really truly love each other and are sisters to the core. Terry has been married twice and has two very handsome boys, Cody and Chad. Those boys are true Texans!

I'm next in line here. Biological daughter of Dottie and Bob Brown. My mom married my dad (Audie) when I was in 5th grade and I couldn't have been happier. He legally adopted us several years later. He is my dad in every sense of the word. As most of you know I was married twice. Once to Jen's dad (again too young to get married) and now to the absolute love of my life Richard. We have adopted (at birth) two wonderful children that drive me absolutely insane! Just kidding guys. Again, back to the blood/water thing... I have three children. I gave birth to one... I love them all just as much. I love them each in different ways but they are all mine. I was actually offended by the Census questionnaire because it actually has three boxes to check for how your children are related to you ~ Biological, Step and Adopted. What the hell difference does it make? Anyway, back to me. I have three wonderful amazing children and a beautiful granddaughter who I plan on spoiling beyond all reason!

Okay, next up is Bobby Brown. Not THAT Bobby Brown. Bobby is the biological son of Bob Brown and Mary Jane. I have only met him a handful of times and he seemed like a decent kid when he was younger. I tried to call him when I heard that Bob Brown had passed away but he wouldn't take my calls. Rumor has it he thought we were calling to get money from Bob Brown's life insurance or something. SERIOUSLY? Not to speak ill of the dead but he didn't give me anything while he was alive and I didn't want anything when he died. I really only called to give him my condolences and to thank him for taking care of Bob Brown in the last years of his life. Go figure.

Last, but certainly not least is Matthew. Matt is the son of Audie and Patty. There is not a word for how Matthew is related to me but he is absolutely my baby brother, who is not such a baby anymore! I was there when he was born and I am his godmother. He is a wonderful young man. He is still in college and dating a very lovely and sweet girl named Karina. He plans on being a teacher and I think he'll be a great one. He is also Nate's godfather.

Okay, that makes nine of us unless of course, you count Claire's kids. Karen and Paul. I really like both of them but since I've only met them a time or two and really have no contact at all with them, let's just let that one go.

So there you have it. Oh no wait... there is one more... Judy! I almost forgot about Judy. Judy was my sister Joey's best friend in high school. Home was apparently not a good place for her and she moved in with us. Judy lived with us for many years and I've always considered her part of our family. Judy has two children (well, adults now really) John and Gina. Richard and I took Jen and Gina on a trip to Kennedy Space Center when they were younger and Gina and I are friends on facebook.

Here are a couple more photos for you...

Dad & Bernadine

Sonny & Trish


Joey & Cathy

Sonny, Terry, Me & Matt

Joey, Judy, Me, Mom & Dad

Sonny, Joey, Dad, Mom, Terry & Me

So there you have it... Mi Familia


Karen said...

Huge families are fantastic no matter how you get are blessed!

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Wow that's a lot of siblings!! Must have been kind of crazy having so many come in and out of your life when you were little!

jbcwriter said...

I'm glad you finally got around to spelling that out! I've been confused for years!

Trish said...

Thank you for writing this out, I've had some confusing moments sorting everyone out as well. Yes, Dad is Audie IV, and I'm sure you know that even that story is a bit convoluted. I took the kids to Houston this past weekend and got to visit with him, and he met B for the first time.
The wedding picture of Granny and Grandpa brought tears to my eyes, everyone has always said that I look like her. I never saw it, until that picture.
Thank you for posting all of these "old" pictures on your blog, I hope you don't mind me stealing them and saving them to my computer :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Barb, Nice blog that you have here. I just wanted to make a correction to it. "Billy" and Anne Marie have 3 children. I am the 3rd and youngest at 28 Miranda. {And yes it is Cathy}. Just thought you should know that their is another. Especially since people are being nosy and looking for information on me and who my family is. I seen that they placed this blog on a site referring to me. And I would hate to think that they would think me a liar to who my father and mother are. Although I have no idea who you are I just thought that you should know I too exist in the family. Much love, Miranda

Barb said...

Thanks Miranda. I've updated my blog with the corrected information. Good to hear from you.

Danielle said...

I love reading these... I love to learn more about my family! Love you!

Miss Healthypants said...

Wow, you really have had quite a life, and been blessed with many siblings! :)

jillytacy said...

I enjoy reading this! I like your idea about family! More people to love!