by Tomi Wiley James
I’m not saying I don’t like being called the Brady Bunch, seeing as our family resembles them, but here’s the story of how one single mother went from two to six in exactly one year.
Hi, I’m Tomi, and I have four boys. Steve and I are newlyweds, very much in love and feel like teenagers with one another… with a teenage son in the house, his teenage friends, his teenage girlfriend, and boys very near being (oh dare dare I say the word?)… tweens. And all that’s not the “big” part. The big part is that I acquired three of those boys along with my husband a mere two weeks ago, on September 8, 2012.
Over the span of exactly one year (we married on the anniversary of our first date), I went from being a single mother to a wife (who never thought she’d get married – ever – nor even wanted to) with four boys: 14, 10, and two seven years old. The youngest, known by most (virtually and in “real life”) as The Dude, and I were tripping along in our little life, in our little house (known affectionately by all in our lives as “The Cottage”) with our little cat and were pretty happy in our routine. Then I transitioned from freelance writing, editing and promoting other writers to working full time as a communications advisor for a global company. That’s where I stumbled across a grumpy, divorced father of three who wasn’t looking for a mate, either. But, being me, I made my presence, and my intentions, known and lucky for us he fell in love with me, because I’d already decided I was going to marry him.
Two months before the wedding we moved from The Cottage to our new home in Knoxville, where I received my undergrad almost 13 years ago. I’ve always loved this city, and hoped to move back, I just never knew it would be like this: A home in the suburbs, four children, a husband, and a minivan on the way. These are some big changes for me, and luckily I adapt easily, but it’s taken some patience (a quality I don’t have in abundance). So far, well, I haven’t been happier in my life.
Now that The Madness (AKA: the wedding planning/actual wedding) is behind us, I’m able to get back into my groove with my writing and am wading into the writing/literary scene here in Knoxville. I’m lucky to already know several writers, including the director of the Creative Writing department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and some incredible poets and writers of all kinds in the Knoxville Writers Guild. I’m acclimating, I’m adjusting, I’m feeling my way back to my roots, my origin, my base.
I’m tracing the curve of words, lacing my fingers through them one letter at a time, remembering who I was, what I can do, what I want to do, and finding ways to slip that into the puzzle that is my life now with my husband, my sons, and our future together as a family.
I’m building my big life, and I invite you to ride along with us as we all learn, grow, and walk step by step into our own great big lives. Buckle up though, because we’re loud and chaotic and messy and love to love each other in snarky, smartassed ways.
And as we say down here in the South – so pleased to meet you, we do hope you’ll sit a spell and spend some time with us.
Welcome to My Big Life.