People often ask me the same question:
What is it like to live with Melodee?
That's a pretty big and deep subject, and there isn't an easy answer. Like the old saying goes, it's complicated.
But I'm going to try to tell you a little about what Life With Melodee is like in a series of postings here on Melodee's blog.
I've spent a good deal of time in this series talking about Melodee and my daughters, Amanda and Debbie. This time, I'm going to talk almost exclusively about the three in general and specifically about how they interact in ways that have changed my life.
Mostly for the better.
I've already said that Melodee, Debbie, and Amanda all sort of took to each other from the very start. This is especially true for Melodee and Amanda. It's sometimes hard to believe that they aren't actually from the same gene pool, and they are so much alike that it scares me sometimes. This is especially true when you understand that Amanda is not quite 11 right now, and she's already acting enough like Melodee to make me nervous. At any rate...
I really don't know exactly when it happened, but at some point, I started to call the three women in my life “The Girls”. I have to admit that I stole the term from some of Melodee's books. Those of you familiar with her Immortal Love Universe will know that the Emperor (Jim) refers to his four wives (Marilyn, Janelle, Tanya, and Paige) as The Girls. And yeah, The Girls is always capitalized.
The Girls all love to shop. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that the live to shop. I knew before Melodee and I became a couple that she was a shop-o-holic, and Debbie and Amanda soon followed suit. It still fascinates me, though, that many of the shopping trips The Girls take don't actually involve buying anything. They all seem happen to just look, try on new outfits, and go through every pair of shoes and every purse in the stores. Except for the jewelry stores.
When Melodee and I got together, Amanda had her ears pierced. That was it. Now, Debbie has 3 piercings in her ears and Amanda has 5. That's nothing compared to Melodee's 7 in her ears and a few, well, extras. Amanda has even asked about getting her tongue pierced. The answer was no. I would guess that between the two of them, they had maybe a total of a dozen rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry. Now they probably have 100 or more pieces. Each. But even at Tiffany's, they all tend to look at a lot more stuff than they buy. Thank God for small favors.
And then there is the food and drink thing. There was a time that the only thing Amanda and Debbie would drink was Coke or Pepsi. I at least weaned them over to diet. On the other hand, Melodee rarely drinks anything other than tea (both iced and hot). Amanda and Debbie absolutely hated tea in any form. Now, The Girls go through more tea than the entire English Navy and Army combined. Amanda and Debbie turn their noses up at soda. The good news is that The Girls have all transitioned over to decaffeinated tea.
As for food, Melodee has, as far as I know, always hated fish and seafood of any kind. It's funny, but she will eat tuna salad now and then. Amanda and Debbie like fish and seafood. We often go, as a family, to a little diner down the road a couple of miles, and they have nightly specials. On Friday, as is tradition, they have a “Seafood Trio” that consists of shrimp scampi, a hunk of grilled salmon, and a couple of cod fillets. They also have the “Fish Fry” that is three of the cod fillets with slaw and French fries. Melodee has taken to ordering the Fish Fry and she actually likes it. Sometimes, she will steal a few bites of the salmon from Debbie or Amanda. She hasn't worked up to the shrimp yet.
Someplace down the line, the dress code also changed. Melodee used to have exactly three modes of dress: (1) Jeans and Tee Shirt, (2) Formal Wear, and (3) Super Sexy. Since becoming a mom to a pair of prepubescent girls, Melodee has only changed her style of dress a little. In most ways, she has simply combined #1 and #3 above. She has also added a fourth group that I like to call “Casual Mom”. This style usually consists of The Girls all dressing alike. And that worries me sometimes.
Melodee has a closet full of what she calls her Little Black Dresses, or simply LBD. Now, Amanda and Debbie also have several versions of LBDs. The three also have several other matching outfits. While Debbie is still very much a little girl (she's only 8 now), Amanda is becoming a young woman. Yeah, I hate that. And while Amanda will not likely be as tall as Melodee, it's getting easier every day to get them confused.
A lot of the above are things that I admit to having some mixed emotions about. I sometimes wonder if our daughters are growing up too fast, but that is probably just me wanting them to be little girls forever. After all, that whole boy and dating thing really bugs me. But there is one area that is absolutely positive, and that is the fact that both Amanda and Debbie have good ideas of what they want to do with their lives now.
Debbie has always been interested in life science and biology. She loves all that stuff, even if I don't understand any of it. She's still undecided on exactly what specific area she wants to go into, but she's floating someplace between medicine for people and medicine for animals. In other words, she can't pick just now between being an MD or a DVM. Either would be great as far as I'm concerned.
Amanda on the other hand is also floating between two careers, but maybe not as desirable in the eyes of some parents. She loves the guitar and music in general. Some days, I think she's decided on becoming a rocker. But, like Melodee, Amanda loves to write and tell stories. I have this feeling that when all is said and done, Amanda will do both and be a songwriter. Maybe a little like Jim Croche or Tom T. Hall telling stories with her songs. As for me, I'm good with that. I think either or both would be good for her. Again I admit that I really don't care to watch Amanda doing some of the same moves as Nancy Wilson while she plays the guitar.
And that brings me to the real bottom line of all of this.
Melodee has been a great and positive influence on my daughters. No, let me correct that...Amanda and Debbie are OUR daughters. Melodee is teaching them the things that a young woman needs to know. I mean things like respecting and loving themselves, how to pick a good man while avoiding the bad ones, and how to care about other people. Most importantly, Melodee is teaching them that there is nothing they can't do if they want it and are willing to work hard to get it.
And all three of The Girls are learning how to love from each other.