Grace Wachira @yaa_grace
Last year, on the first day of December, Mary Itimu, in her mid-40s, walked down the isle to wed her fiancé Robert Itimu. Mary’s son and Robert’s two children, a daughter and a son aged 28, 25 and 18 consecutively were part of the bridal team.
That day brought to an end Mary’s single mother title. And Robert was no longer a widower. You see, Robert’s wife had passed on in 2007. Mary on the other hand was still waiting for God’s opportune time. The two, teachers by profession, were neighbours and attended the same church.
They started off as friends. The friendship blossomed to love and later they decided to get married. “I waited until my eldest son and daughter were old enough before I introduced them to my girlfriend in 2013.
They were elated because they could see how I struggled with house chores in the kitchen and the like. So, they embraced the idea of having someone to keep me company,” Robert who is in his early 50s reveals. That year, they had three weddings in the family. “Both our sons married ahead of us.
One of them even gave us a grandchild before our nuptials,” they beam. The children were also instrumental in planning for the big day. At first, Mary’s son was not so receptive.
“But I talked to him and he supported me eventually. My father too had become attached to me and was okay with me being single. But he too offered his support.
My mother was beside herself with joy when we announced that we were getting married,” she recalls. Mary reminisces her past life as a single woman.
“A lot of the times, I did not have anyone to compliment me when I looked good or tell me that I was beautiful,” Mary smiles because now she does. Robert also has something to smile about. “Even after a good or bad day, there was no one to come home to and share my struggles with,” he says.
The couple is happy that their children blended well. “Our children appreciate the fact that having a partner is important because now they have their own families and know what it is to have a companionship,” Robert points out. Life as a couple is a double blessing.
They now pull their finances together as well as share ideas, among other things. “Now we show up as a complete family on occasions and even visit our children together. It is a joy I cannot put into words,” Mary sighs.
“My daughter-in-law helped me pick my gown and even advised me when it came to make-up,” Mary says. On their big day, apart from their children showering them with gifts, they presented an emotive speech.
“They now each have a mother and father figure in their lives and it is something we are thanking God for,” she adds. It was a full house during last year’s Christmas. “Our sons came with their wives and our daughter who had just completed high school was home for the holidays.
We made merry indeed,” they beam. It may come as a surprise to many, but blended families, most of the time function better than what we see as normal families.
“Once a couple has resolved their issues in terms of roles, finances and the like, they are ready to take on life together and move on,” accomplished counsellor Catherine Gachutha says.
Before such unions, counselling is advised. “ Children need to have dealt with the loss of either of either parents whether through divorce or death. This will help them put the pain behind and make the family forge on well.
The parents should discuss how to deal with their assets if they have and even how they would share them. Transparency is important,” she says. Children benefit in that they get to have more siblings and acquire a mother or father.
“They can easily iron out emotional issues, resolve financial hiccups and enjoy having older or younger siblings. There is a lot of consciousness and they have a common understanding that they are now there for each other,” she affirms.