By Lisa Morgan –

This is the love story for those experienced in both the hopefulness of marriage and the deep disappointment of divorce.  It is a story for those struggling to be the best single parent they can be, while wondering if they will ever feel that sense of wholeness as an individual or a family again.  This is a story that says, “YES! You can have a second chance at love!” This is the story of how a good mix of humor, desire, tenderness, hard work, patience, determination, unrelenting hope (and perhaps an occasional bottle of wine-optional of course) helped two unsuspecting soul mates successfully bring their four teenage boys together as a family and live to tell about it.

Greg and Laura were born in the same hospital in Philadelphia and raised only five miles apart.  They worked the same venues and events.  They had probably passed each other’s paths on several occasions.  Still, they didn’t actually meet until they their sons were in the same Cub Scout pack here in the desert in 2003.  The families lost touch for a time as each suffered divorces on their own accord.  Five years later, Greg was on the verge of leaving the desert to return to Philadelphia permanently when he and Laura bumped into each other again.  It was Laura who suggested that before Greg left, they should get together for dinner.  Greg, awkward but willing said, “I don’t know… I haven’t done this in over 18 years.”  Laura replied, “Well, then you must be really hungry.” Over that fateful, accidental first date, they began realizing a special connection and discovering their many commonalities.

As the writer assigned to translate their story to print, I had the opportunity to hear it from them first hand.  I have to say their genuine joy in the telling of it was contagious.  They both communicated the kind of true happiness that very naturally, lights a person up from the inside.


Both Laura and Greg have successful but demanding careers.  Greg produces corporate events for a local production company and Laura is the Marketing Manager for the Miramonte Resort and Spa.  But above and beyond that, they share four teenage sons: two from Laura’s “practice” marriage, and two from Greg’s “practice” marriage.  When I asked them what their greatest challenge was, Greg eloquently described it as “the managed chaos of blending a family.”

“When we talk to other couples that are in similar circumstances, we share how difficult it can be, getting the kids to accept things and to work on being a blended family.  It’s a full time job.”

“It’s a matter of meeting them (the kids) where they are,” shared Laura.  “In any post-divorce situation, kids are going to have a lot of feelings.  The key is in recognizing and legitimizing those feelings and handling it as gently as possible.  Not everybody goes at the same speed in relationships.  When you’re just a couple, that sort of thing is easy to work out between the two of you.  It’s a very exponential thing when you add other people to it.  Greg and I came up with some ground rules that we go back to consistently.”

Greg continued, “We’ve agreed to always communicate as adults first, and then deal with kid issues.  We also have to be consistent.  Consistency and communication is the best answer. The thing that threatened to break us up in the beginning was the fact that there were a lot of feelings going on between two adults and four teenage boys. It is a challenge at best. It worked out because we have a bunch of strong kids.  We talk through things.  It wasn’t easy at first but over time, we got better at it.”

“Although we got together in 2008, we didn’t actually get married until August of 2011,” Laura shared.  “We wanted to make sure that this would work for the sake of the kids and the family.  Once it started to click we knew it was time to get a ceremony together.  We wrote the kids’ participation into the ceremony.  They were asked, ‘Will you support this marriage?’  They were involved.  They were, and still are, an important part of our marriage coming together.”

“Greg and I immediately knew we were soul mates.  He’s a little bit nuts.  This guy next to me is not right!” Laura said laughing.  “But I’m equally not right in a way that really blends really well together.”

“There were too many things that were in common,” agreed Greg.  “There were too many universal things for this relationship to not be right.”

So how do they keep the home fires burning? “We love live music and concerts.  We go to performances as often as we can. We do a lot of fun stuff together, like playing Santa and Mrs. Claus for holiday events, throwing an annual Halloween carnival on our block with the kids and the neighbors and hosting big birthday parties at our house. We’re both geeky and techie. I fully appreciate the five surround sound zones Greg wired into our little house. I make music playlists. We cook together. Greg is amazing in the kitchen! We play pool, too. I can actually beat him now,” Laura bragged.

“We make a conscious effort to do couple dates.  Our kids are getting older so it’s getting harder to do things as a family now.  Gasoline and perfume are starting to take over, if you know what I mean,” snickers Greg.  “But there’s no way we are going to have empty nest syndrome.  For us, it’s an opportunity to enjoy life and one another.”