20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day

While he’s been married to my Mom (this November) for 25 years, I’ve known him collectively for nearly 31 years. I was 17 when I first met him, when my mom, coming out of a nasty, bitter divorce from her second husband started dating him. All of us, my siblings and I, was sort of wary of him. My older sister, me and my younger sister had called my mom’s second husband “dad” because we so wanted one. Our real father was dead, cancer taking him in July 1968 at the age of 33.

But when my moms marriage fell apart in 1979, we all tried to rally around her, and hate the man who screwed her over. And over the years, I grew less resentful of the man who first replaced our father; we’ve seen him at certain family functions over the years. Still, its hard to fathom just what he did and still not remain bitter over it.

But this third man, this nice Italian with three kids of his own, seemed to take a shine to my mother, despite four rebellious kids of her own. Well, only my older brother was rebellious, and was the only one who refused to call my mom’s second husband “dad.” He perused her for nearly six years before she agreed to marry him.

But see, in those six years before, I kind grew to like the man, and my siblings and got along with his three kids, so by the time they did marry in 1985 I knew this one was for keeps. It didn’t hurt that I think he kind of worshiped the ground my mom walked on, even though I felt at times it was silly for him to do that. And, I always thought my mom married Guy because she was getting older, and did not want to spend the rest of her life alone. I know that sounds mean, bitter and stupid, but after all the issues with her second marriage, those thoughts stayed with me.

That was until he had a heart attack. While it was a mild one, he none the less went through bypass surgery. I remember, with the clarity of the day, my stepfather laying on the doctors table at the hospital, my mom hovering like the mother hen she can be, while the doctor explained the situation: a bypass would be mean he would recover completely while a shunt would only prolong things. She stood there, her hand in his, looking at her husband while tears streaming down her cheeks. It was then, that I knew she really, really loved him.

Over the last 25 years, I’ve grown to love this man as a husband to my mother and the father I lost 42 years ago this July. And this man, who does not share a single gene with me or my siblings, has tried (rather successfully) to love all of us nonetheless. And that is great.

So on Father’s Day, I can remind him that while we are genetically not connected, he is my dad. And I think, and I hope, that my real dad would approve. And I have 31 years of fond memories, three step-siblings who I care for (even the one has forsaken his family due to his religious beliefs) and hope that my mom and dad will be together for the rest of their lives.

All my love.

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