When life give you lemons – Our beautiful blended family


It wasn’t until these last few years that I started paying closer attention to families. Families come in all forms, and the idea of a nuclear family has always been rather naïve if you think about it. In the 50’s it was two parents, who have their children, raise them together, and the best was done to provide a stable home and hope that the children grow up happy and fulfilled. There were hopes that they would find someone decent to marry so there would eventually be grand kids or at least that they found a passion or career that they love and could do for themselves so they weren’t in their golden years supporting a 30-something year old. A lot of this still remains true now days but the idea of a nuclear family has evolved. It’s not just two parents raising a family anymore. Often times it’s one parent or more! The classic standard was one I thought would be true for my own family.

But life doesn’t always go as planned.

Long story short, I married my high school sweetheart. I had the stable home, the kids, and I was a stay at home mom. My ex- husband’s job had him away from home far more often than not so I maintained our household, kids, and all the responsibilities that came along with it. Then, my traveling ex -husband decided to travel right on out of our marriage and have an affair. He rocked any sense of stability the kids and I had right out the window and just like that, I was a single mom to 3 beautiful children.

Fast forward and I was out on the dating scene.

Dating in your late 30’s is interesting to say the least. In my earlier years when I meet someone very young with a child I thought about how hard it must be. When you’re my age and dating with children you question those who have no children or haven’t had at least one marriage under their belt. I put up the protective barriers I didn’t even know I had and asked questions like I was from the census bureau. It’s no longer just you out there and dating, it’s you and 3 other little people you have to keep in mind when meeting these folks.

Needless to say, I had my fair share in interesting dates…some more “interesting” than others. Buy me lunch sometime and I’ll tell you all about it! With each one I learned something about myself and about the whole process. First and foremost, trust your gut! I could tell within the first few minutes whether or not I’d want to go on another date with them. More often than not, it was a solid no. And on several occasions, I got up after a few minutes, paid for my drink and left. And no, it wasn’t because I didn’t like what I saw or because I didn’t want to give them a chance. I simply refused to be in company of someone who had the “manners” if you will, of a pubescent 14-year-old. You’d be surprised.

Then I met him.

I was as jaded as I was going to get and I’d already told myself that this would be a quick drink and I’d still have enough time to hit the grocery store before my kids came home. That one drink turned into a 3-hour long conversation that hasn’t stopped since. I met someone. “The” someone. The one that made me thankful my ex-husband traveled his way right out my door. The one that not only loves me for all of my flaws and imperfections, but loves my children as if they were his own.  Now here we are almost 2 years later and about to move in together and combine families. We’re one kid shy of The Brady Bunch but throw in our dog and cat and well, there you go! We have 5 healthy, beautiful children who love each other and can’t wait to start living together.

As parents we are fully aware of this adventure that we are about to embark on.

We know that while a lot of incredible memories will be made, there will also be our fair share of growing pains. A family is what you make if it. It has a different definition for each person. There is no right way or wrong way to it. Mine looks very different than what it did 5 years ago. It includes two bonus kids that I never thought I could love as much as I do and an incredible partner to share it with.

I often still look at families and think,

“What’s their story?”

All families have one, don’t they? Are they as put together as they seem or are they a hot mess digging through the dryer for socks on a school morning literally two minutes before they need to leave the house like we are? I know which one fits my family and it’s not always Instagram worthy. But it’s my family. And the crazy chaos that it is, is one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Mina Fuentes moved to Virginia when she was 5 years old and has loved watching Richmond grow into the incredible city that it is. She is an office manager and marketing coordinator for a small private equity firm down town. 
Recently, Mina and her wonderful boyfriend combined families and are absolutely loving their new adventure. Their beautiful family consists of 5 healthy and active kids (all between the ages of 5 – 11), a dog, and a cat!

When Mina isn’t working or loving on 5 kids, she loves to run, and travel to different cities with her better half. She’s pretty sure she left a piece of her heart in Pittsburgh when she visited back in July. She loves museums, outdoor concerts, growing in her faith and sports. She’s been a fan of the Washington Capitals for almost 18 years and may have cried a little when they won the Stanley Cup! Go CAPS!