They took each other’s names 22 years ago, paying tribute to heritage on both sides of the families and setting the stage for the life they’d build together.
Steve, Kelly, Oscar and Maxwell make up the Mulrooney-Côtés (we often shorten that to the MC family). We’re one of a kind especially in name. A search on Google will confirm this fact. I’m the 12th generation of Côté descendants, and my darling wife, Kelly, is the Mulrooney. Both of us changed our family names when we married in 1992. The days have passed since our families struggled with such a complicated, hyphenated, blended family name but it was fun (for us) to let them go on and on in speculative rants. Ahh family!
At first glance we look pretty normal, but don’t be deceived—except for Kelly, we’re all ADD! What fun it was to rise through the primary and secondary school systems with our two boys. Don’t misunderstand—I wouldn’t change anything. Well nothing substantial, that is. Although the daily reminders, lists, alarms, speeches, occupational and speech therapy were trying for us, its nothing compared to what some other families have endured. At least we’re healthy and happy. At the end of the day, what else matters? Kudos to Kelly. I don’t know how she keeps an even keel, especially when she’s got to get all three of us out the door for an appointment—on time! Such mayhem.
I suppose its worth mentioning our extended families. My side is a blend of my Dad’s family scattered around Sudbury, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton, and my only sibling, a sister, who is single with twins. Finally, there’s my step-sister’s nuclear family who live in Ottawa. My wife’s side is HUGE! Let me frame things by saying about two years ago, we were 100+ for Thanksgiving dinner. We ate in a barn (a clean one) and had two food lines: one for parents and small children, the other for the teenage grandchildren, their boyfriends/girlfriends and invited teen friends. That’s a lot of mashed potatoes.
Now we find ourselves at a very interesting phase of family life. (It’s many years past the day the day this photo was taken, but feels like just yesterday.) Our oldest son Oscar has left the nest to pursue post-secondary studies—and to get away from his speech-prone father, I’m sure. Recently, Kelly and I looked at each other and realized that we’ve arrived at the point we talked about 20+ years earlier, before we were married. With our oldest son moved out and our youngest old enough to be left home alone, we could resume our partnership and journey as a couple. It was a neat feeling to reach this family milestone. We know about the boomerang generation and the likelihood that our oldest little bird will someday return to the nest, and that’s okay. Our youngest (at fourteen) says he’s going to live with us forever; and that’s cool, too.
Well, there you have it. Nearly 30 years of family-in-the-making all rolled up into a few paragraphs. Maybe I’ll write again sometime in the not-too-distant future once we’ve experienced some of our most anticipated moments, like our sons’ weddings, or the birth of our grandchildren.
I wish all families could live as happily as mine.
This is #1000families post number 40. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.