John Marsden Writing Topic #170
The Branches On My Family Tree
Sebastian and Leah’s wedding was absolutely beautiful, not to mention it was a “proper” wedding—in a church and with an actual reception—everything my wedding to him wasn’t, it drove me crazy.
What eased my feelings of insanity…and jealousy…was the fact that I wasn’t at their wedding to celebrate their marriage, I was there as a friend to support the recently widowed Dan. It definitely wasn’t easy for him to be at a wedding, two months after the death of his own wife, however I made it my job to make sure he would have as good a time as he could, especially at the reception. I made sure he ate, talked to the other guests, (most of them comprised of Leah’s friends and family as Sebastian’s family still distanced themselves from him, even though five years had passed) and danced. We mainly danced together and talked, he was grateful to be taken in by me and for being there for him.
Over the next few months, he eventually settled into his life as a widowed father. By Christmas 1989, Leah and Sebastian had been married for five months, Dan had been living with me for six months and Joanna and Jake were five and two respectively, ready to face school and pre-school in the new year and new decade.
Over the next year, Dan and I grew closer and developed feelings for each other. We were cautious to act on them, especially Dan as he was torn between wanting to embrace the happiness that he felt with me and guilt from finding happiness so soon after Prue’s death. There was a part of me that felt like I was stealing Dan away from Prue. Of all the people we could have spoken to about this, we spoke to Sebastian and Leah, partly because they were our friends, but also because their feelings when they got together, despite the different circumstances, were similar. We eventually succumbed after months of fighting our feelings and had our first kiss just before Christmas 1990, a little over a year-and-a-half after Prue’s death. My kisses with Sebastian were mainly comprised of teenage hormones and passion, my first kiss was Dan was the first one that truly felt right.
Our relationship wasn’t always smooth, especially with two children, however it didn’t take long for us to figure out that we were indeed right for each other. We married on March 14th 1992. Dan wanted me to have my dream wedding that I missed out on with Sebastian, it wasn’t extravagant, but I was surrounded by loving friends and Dan’s family (like Sebastian’s family, my own family still didn’t have it in them to forgive me for becoming a teenage mother).
Surprisingly it didn’t take long for us to have our own children, even more surprising was the news of twins, Prudence (Prue) and David (Dave) were born on July 14th 1993. We were also surprised at having children so quickly, considering that Sebastian and Leah were yet to have their own child, even though by that point they had been married for four years. Sebastian later told us that they didn’t want to rush into it, they wanted to wait until they hit the five year mark. We all got the surprise of our lives, when both Leah and I discovered we were pregnant and due around the same time. My youngest child, Paige, was born on September 25th 1994, with Sebastian and Leah’s only child, Jade, arriving two weeks later on October 9th.
To this day, I marvel at how both Sebastian’s life, as well as my life, unfolded over those ten years. When I was sixteen I was terrified of the future, I didn’t think at twenty-six, I would be a happily married and proud mother of five.
My motherly pride would never disappear over the years, even with tough times ahead.
**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.