Sometimes your parents are divorced, when you are young, like two – you think – but you were so young that you never actually ask how old you were because it doesn’t matter.
And I’m not sure how old I was in the photos, either – the photos of my mom’s second wedding, where her own father almost doesn’t walk her down the “aisle” in the function hall but does at the last moment.
I don’t really remember being there, but I know I was, not just because of the pictures, though I don’t think it’s because of my own memory either. It’s weird how memories work like that.
Anyhow, the point is that sometimes you find yourself at age 37, trying to explain what you’ve never felt the need to explain before, because you now have a four year old. The you here is me and therefore the four year old is my son. We have a large family, to say the least.
Not that long ago a friend pointed out that when we were growing up, it wasn’t that common for kids to have different last names than their moms. My mom answered to Mrs. Fowler when the teachers called and she never corrected them, like it was part of her job not to.
My brother was born when I was five. He’s a half brother that doesn’t feel half way my brother at all. He had the same last name as my mom and step dad but we fought like any set of siblings would – and now we are as close as any sibling could hope for.
I’m starting to figure out how to explain to my kids that they have a lot of grandparents because both of their parents have more than two parents. I’m not good at math but like I said, it’s a large family. I guess the best way to explain it to a four year old is a lot of love.
I am grateful for the relationship I have with my father, whom I also call Dad, who my kids call Grampie. And I’ve never written much about this at all so I’m not going to go further now, though I imagine writing will be how I work my way through the explanations.
Today though I’m just kind of thinking about the man that married my mom so long ago I don’t remember the photos. He’s the man that I started calling Dad when my brother was born. The more than six foot tall man with light skin and blonde hair that people would look at funny when he answered to Dad in our little suburban town, where he picked me up from ballet on Thursdays. My mom worked late some nights and I got sick of his chicken cutlets, but they were actually pretty great now that I think of that.
He was Bob before all of that and he’s Papa now. He is always joking that he better watch out or I’ll write about him. So for now, I am.
Happy birthday, Dad.