I usually say that I am the oldest of four children and the only girl. That's only partly true.
My parents divorced when I was in my early 20's. They both re-married rather quickly. My dad was married to a woman with three children, all of whom were also young adults. My mom married a man with four teenage boys. Later, my dad divorced and married again, this time to a woman with four grown children.
Friends, that's a lot of people to keep track of, especially when you count in the spouses or partners and children of all this far flung family. Some of them I've literally only met once and others I've never even spoken to, so usually I don't try all that hard to keep track, except to occasionally ask "how are they doing" when I talk to one of my folks.
The other day, though, out of the blue, I got a call from one of my ex-stepsisters, who wanted to know what it's like to date a guy in a wheelchair, which is something I have some experience in. We had a frank and friendly conversation, especially considering it was the first time we'd spoken in at least 8 years and maybe more.
Later, it occurred to me that, among all these stepsibs, we probably know a little bit about just about everything there is to know in the world. In our midst are - just to name a few - a film-maker, an elite marathoner, a building contractor, a policeman, a medical student, an elementary school teacher, a ski equipment guru, a lawyer and two clergy. Some of us have traveled widely. Others are voracious readers. Almost all of us have had fascinating dating lives. We're like our own brain trust.
I'm thinking that we should start a reality show, where all 15 of us, plus the family we've collected along the way, live in a big house somewhere, and people call us up and ask for advice and we pass the phone around until we find the person who can answer it. And, in between calls, we could play rounds of "stop poking me" and "mom always liked you best" and all the other games we never bonded over since we didn't have childhoods together.
Ok, gotta go. I'm waiting for the networks to call. Any minute now.