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The New Family / 1000 Families Project:Gerad, Diane, JoJo and Minnie - The New Family

1000 Families Project:
Gerad, Diane, JoJo and Minnie

How finding a match for your crazy is the best way to begin a family. A network of extended family, friends and church mates helps, too.

On August 4th of 2007, I married up. I found someone just crazy enough to put up with goof like me. My wife Diane has put up with me through thick and thin. Some of those parts were extremely thin, but we made it—and we are still making it.

We started our family as just us. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment just outside of the little city of Hagerstown, about an hour from Baltimore and DC. There I worked as a school teacher for students with special needs and my wife was in banking. Two years after that, we moved into my grandparents’ house after my grandmother passed away. This finally gave us the room we needed to start a family. In 2011, we welcomed the addition of Jocelyn Joy, or JoJo as we call her for short. Jo is a little spitfire. I can’t be mad about that because she is me through and through. She loves to be outside. She loves to run and do active things, and has finished two Spartan Races with me. JoJo is just one awesome kid.

When she was two, we decided to add a furry addition to our family. Jo named our cat Minnie because she was going through her Minnie Mouse phase at the time. Minnie is the only cat I’ve ever seen that doesn’t mind being carried around like a doll all day. It was around this time that I took a job as a manager at our local Chick-fil-A for two years. It was through this job that I gained the experience necessary to be successful at my current job, as general manager of our locally owned movie theater. My wife currently works as the director of our local Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

Our immediate family is surrounded by my parents, my wife’s parents, and my grandparents, all who do an awesome job watching her when needed. We are also very close with our siblings. My sister-in-law has two kids. Jo and her cousins are basically best friends. They are inseparable. They share clothes and would much prefer to be together than apart. I couldn’t describe my family without mentioning my church family as well. There isn’t much that could make me happier than seeing my child making friends, learning about Jesus. When times are tough, we can always count on our church family for prayers and encouraging words. And what family would be complete without a solid network of friends? In some of my darkest times, my closest friends were there for me when I felt like no one else was. I couldn’t possibly write any words that would do justice to what this has meant to me.

I don’t have a complicated story of what my family is. Our family isn’t blended and I don’t have to do any of this alone as a single-parent. Maybe that’s my blessing. Maybe the fact that you are blended or single is your blessing. To me, family is what you make of it. I’ve seen perfectly happy families with as many configurations as a giant Rubiks cube. What matters is the heart.

This is #1000families post number 132. 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.

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Gerad Haupt

About Gerad Haupt

Gerad is a 31-year-old obstacle course racing (OCR) athlete, fitness enthusiast, model, husband, father, and author of the Spartan Daddy Blog. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife, Diane, and four-year-old daughter Jocelyn. View all posts by

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Gerad, Diane, JoJo and Minnie' has no comments

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