Once upon a time, there lived a man and woman. They met quite young, fell in love, and never endured many challenges. Their marriage lasted a lifetime as it was full of laughter and fun all while embracing love to its fullest.
And then there’s our story:
Once upon a time there was a life-in-the-middle woman whose fourteen-year marriage ended as she toted away a complete set of baggage: a broken heart, fear, distrust, and completely insecure. Living with her almost-out-of-the-nest-aged daughter, she knew she needed to grow or she might stay stuck in the middle forever. A few months after signing the “it’s over” papers, she decided it was time to meet new people. Well, um, new men, not to sound trashy. Just, you know, friends. Completely petrified at the idea of dating, she created an online dating profile, a perfect place to meet new people in a detached, self-protective kind of way.
Little did she know there was a life-in-the-middle man in a similar situation with his own set of baggage and three kids in hand. He, too, carried a broken heart after experiencing gut-wrenching loss but determined it was time to take a risk and meet someone new. After encouraging words from his dad, he created an online dating profile on the same site as the woman and began to search.
One day as he perused the sea of unknown faces, a lady caught his eye. Shrugging, he sent her a quick smile and went about his day working and caring for the three littles that held his heart.
The life-in-the-middle lady noticed his smile, thought he looked nice, and decided to take a risk. Shrugging with uncertainty, she realized this was the only way to meet someone new. She sent a quick response before her rational brain took over and went about her day.
Much to her surprise, he replied with a quick email asking how her experience on the site had been so far, cautioning her to be careful and to watch out for anyone who might do her harm. Short emails were soon piled up next to that original smile as they reached out to each other, fully protected by the first-name-only expectation online communication provided. Tentatively they shared bits of their lives, their hurts, and their experiences. These life-in-the-middles began to realize that some of their baggage not only appeared to coordinate, they might actually match. Broken marriages, child loss, a longing to be fully known and fully accepted, and even their tastes in cars (except for the hot Dodge Caravan he mentioned he typically drove).
Still protective of her tender heart, the life-in-the-middle lady made it clear that she wasn’t looking to become anyone’s girlfriend. She was there simply to meet new people and perhaps make a friend. He replied in kind, content in the life he had but looking forward to maybe adding a friend as well.
The emails grew in length and frequency as more life stories were shared. They each looked forward to receiving those written words and wondered what may have been started. A few weeks passed when the lady realized she actually wanted to hear his voice. Yes, quite cheesy and sappy but to her credit, she knew if he sounded squeaky or annoying, there was no way she’d remain friends, let alone consider anything more.
One day in a moment of sheer bravery, bolstered, perhaps, by the strength of her Mustang, she dialed his number and waited for him to answer. Relief filled her as she heard him speak for the first time. He sounded normal yet manly, and she realized she had hoped this to be true. Her relief was so powerful that she forgot to check the fullness of her gas tank as she pulled onto the highway. Many minutes of conversation passed when she finally looked at the gas gauge to check. Horrified at the sight of that bright yellow light, she wrestled with her reality. Did she share her predicament and appear a damsel in distress? Or did she quickly hang up in order to focus on her need for speed, er, gas.
In a moment quicker than it takes to place a Starbuck’s order, she decided to share her predicament. Not to appear weak or ditzy. No, she decided if this friendship held any potential for life-in-person kinds of stuff, she needed to not only embrace her full self – silly mistakes and all – she needed to allow him the opportunity to experience her real-self, too.
So she told him, and braced for his response, realizing she expected a barrage of demeaning remarks, just like the kind she played over and over in her head. Instead, she received a slight chuckle and then something that completely floored her.
This life-in-the-middle man expressed concern for her predicament. He didn’t demean her flightiness or put her down for lack of planning. Sure, he chuckled because it was, after all, funny. She told him she forgot to check because she was so nervous to call him. He stayed on the phone until she arrived safely at the closest gas station where they reluctantly hung up, but not before plans were made to talk again.
Three years have passed. Three years of laughter, a few disagreements, and loads of tender grace. Three years of learning to trust, to embrace, and how to feel again. To love and be loved. Fully. Completely. Flaws and baggage and broken pieces and all.
It’s gone so well, in fact, that one day this life-in-the-middle man asked the life-in-the-middle gal if she would become his always and forever. And she said yes.
That’s where the tales actually begin – these tales from a blender as they — well, as we learn how to blend our lives and our families together as one.
It’s bound to be an adventure as these past years have already proven. An adventure full of laughter and mistakes, stories of silliness and slight seriousness. It’s our hope that you’ll join us and witness redemption and restoration as our hearts and lives continue to heal together.
So get your glasses ready and plates set out. I might not always cook, but there are bound to be some tasty treats as you read along with our Tales From a Blender!
– Kim & Russ (yep, you might actually get to read some from him as well!)