Make Something: Letter to a Fictional Character

Dear Alice,

I am writing in hopes that you will entertain a new career opportunity. I’ve seen your work, and I’d like to offer you a position in my organization.

When I say “organization,” I mean my family/household. I want you to become our housekeeper, childcare provider, chauffeur, chef, and domestic manager.

In your crucial role with the Brady family, you have become familiar with the challenges associated with a large, blended family. That experience will be an asset to you—and to us—as you take this step forward in your career.

Yes, this move does represent career advancement. Allow me to outline some of the ways this new position will challenge and reward you:

  • When my husband and I married several years ago, we entered the relationship with three children apiece. So, like the Brady family, we have six kids. But while the estrogen follows my blood line, testosterone surges on both sides of our family. In other words, two pre-teen girls and one teenage boy are mine, and the other three teenage boys are his. Every day, we work together to make the whole thing feel like “ours.” Maybe you’ll be able to offer insights for easing this integration.
  • There are no widows or widowers in our scenario, so you’ll be entering a more complex family structure where the extended family includes ex-spouses. Although my husband and I opted for divorce, we know our children did not. All six of them love the parents who live outside our home, and we do whatever we can to keep it that way, even when it’s hard. You will find opportunities to develop new skills in diplomacy, communication, and organizational dynamics—all within a three-minute encounter in our foyer at weekend pick-up time.
  • Due to shared custody and collaborative parenting, the eight of us do not share the same space all the time. Every other weekend, we are all here together. On the alternate weekends, the kids are with their other parents. (Herein lies a significant bonus for you: every other weekend will be yours to enjoy, free of our family!) In between, we manage a complex but consistent schedule that ensures the children spend time with their “non-custodial” parents. No one loves this arrangement, but we try to keep the process positive. We’ll appreciate your smile and optimism as part of these frequent transitions.
  • Unlike Mrs. Brady, I work a full-time job, running my own consulting business. On top of that, my husband’s demanding role involves extensive travel; his former spouse works full-time; and my former spouse works long hours at the mercy of client expectations. A simple phone call from the school nurse can set off a convoluted phone tree as we determine who is available to respond. You can create a valuable place for yourself as the communication hub in our family network.
  • With the Bradys, you may have managed family schedules from a bulletin board and kitchen counter conversations. Our multi-household environment calls for a more fluid, up-to-the-minute system. You will achieve extraordinary aptitude in 21st century communication tools and technologies. I trust you will be eager to master Google Calendar, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, rapid-fire texting, and more.

Those are just a few highlights of the stimulating experiences you will find in our organization. Each day you will uncover more, and we have every confidence that you have what it takes to succeed.

I do feel obligated to tell you that we do not have a catchy theme song or clever opening title sequence. However, if you deem these as “deal breakers,” I will gladly set in motion the creative efforts required to produce high-quality lyrics, music, video, and animation. I do have those connections.

Additionally, our community features a traditional butcher shop and several wonderful meat counters. I will be happy to help you network with the finest talent in that area.

Alice, thank you for your consideration. I look forward to introducing you to the children, orienting you to our home, and welcoming you to the family.

Beth Nyland

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