Monday, June 16, 2008

Belated, but still Worth Something

Here's to Dads. Specifically, to my two dads.

Just like the sitcom, yes.

First, quick family history for clarity:

Mum married Dad (and yes, I write mum because that's how I pronounce it, and I'm telling a story). High school boyfriend and girlfriend who got married mostly because everyone was afraid she'd end up pregnant, not because they desperately wanted to.

However, in the high school background was another boy, Rob, who liked my mum, and she liked him, but they never did anything about it because "she was Dad's girlfriend, and Dad was in a band." So the story goes, anyways. Bands trump all else. So Rob marries another woman.

Mum and Dad have my older brother Mac and then me. Rob has a girl, Jamie, and a boy, Matt, with his wife.

Mum and Dad get divorced. I was only about 1, so I don't remember any of this, but my brother does (he was 4). Dad sticks around Ontario for weekend custody for a few years, but eventually moves to the United States: first to Chicago, then Utah, and then down to Florida (which in a big way, I think, helped set the path for my eventual move to America, since I was already visiting it so much as a kid). Growing up, older brother and I saw him more and more infrequently, usually around holidays and part of the summer. He got married a few times, with not-so-great results.

Mum was an emergency room nurse (was for 25 years). One evening, there's a motorcycle accident and who comes rolling into the emergency room on a gurney but Rob. She's the nurse on call, and they remember each other from high school. He tells her back then he always wanted to ask her out, and she confessed the same! Destiny!

Mum and Rob get married when I am around 4 years old, and a new family is formed: Mac, Jamie, me and Matt.

Mum and Rob eventually have two boys together, who are my youngest brothers Jon and Tom.

And so it's all been for the majority of my life. Four brothers, one sister (yes, six all together!) two dads.

(Wasn't that quick an explanation, was it. I just like how it all came together, I guess.)

Anyways. Growing up, I was always kind of scared of Rob. He was tall, had a big booming radio broadcaster voice, and seemed very stern and angry a lot of the time. He was wonderful to my mom, and he was never cruel or harmful, but he scared me. We weren't close.

When I was 19, I went to university in Windsor (about three hours from home, across the river from Detroit). As they were unpacking me, and getting ready to leave me in residence, Rob gave me the biggest, longest hug in goodbye. I never forgot that, because at that point, I couldn't really remember the last time he had.

And from that point on, Rob and I developed a lovely relationship. I've really come to realize that despite all the initial fear and the weirdness, he's a wonderful, dry and intensely caring guy.

He hugs me all the time now. When I gave him a picture of him and I dancing at my wedding as a gift, he cried. Over the past few years, I've realized that he's really turned out to be the one I consider the most as "my father": the one who is always there, ready with advice, ready to support. I love him to bits, and I am never more confident and sure of myself when he and my mum are here with me in Rhode Island, at my side, never stronger.

Which is not to say, and I emphasize this, that my father is not in the picture, and that I don't regard him still as my father. I do, and I love him. For all his distance, he's a great guy (I use the word bumbling to describe him in the most affectionate of ways, because that's the best word, really). He just made some decisions that made the relationship between us kind of strange, although still loving. I actually just got back from visiting him in Florida and we had a great time just hanging out, the two of us (minus evil stepmother). He is wonderful to talk to about anything, full of humor and advice, and just a really easy-going, friendly person.

Anyways, it's a long and gushy post, but something that was floating around in my head.

Dads are lovely.

And so are surrogate dads, like the one I have here in Rhode Island in my father-in-law.

I'm quite lucky, all around.

1 comment:

Lisa Pas said...

I love love LOVE the "meant-to-be" kind of thing about your mom and Rob. And I love this story. :) So sweet. Keep 'em coming!