Sunday, 16 June 2013

What is Father's Day when your dad is gone?

What is a dad?
A dad is someone who parents you, loves you, wrestles with you, spies on your boyfriends to make sure they're good enough for you, picks your intoxicated-teen-butt up from parties at 3 am, snaps wet dishtowels at you, loves you, and calls you the apple of his eye.

What happens to Father's Day when that person is gone?

My father has been gone for over 13 years, and since then, Father's Day has not meant much to me. Often, I forget that it's coming until the last minute and then I realize that I should probably do something for Tony, the father of my children.  Fortunately, Sashimi has an awesome art teacher who pretty much took care of that for me. The kids and I also made Tony breakfast and espresso in bed at the table after letting him sleep in until 8:30 (WTF?! I know...that constitutes sleeping in around here).

But what do I do for my own dad?

My dad was my daddy, but that relationship was severed when he died; I was 17. I know that we will see each other again, but we do not have a continuing relationship.  There is nothing there but memories, photos and a few home videos.  I show them to my kids, we talk about their Dede Kerry. But the past is the past, and living in the past is not going to bring him back.

So I acknowledge the fact that my dad is not here, that I miss him, and I move on.

Ed, my step-father, and came into my life as an adult.  He never raised me, disciplined me, sent me to my room, or wrestled with me.  Frankly that last one would be kind of weird. But he has done something that my dad was not able to do: be a grandfather to my children.

My children love their Gedo. The boys wrestle with him every time we visit, usually about 20 minutes before I want to go home, getting them all riled up and then sends them home for me to deal with. He plays catch with them, he throws rocks in the river with them, he goes fishing with them, and doesn't get angry when one of them drops his new pliers in the lake. He helps them learn to ride their bikes. He gets them to help him with work around the yard, like stacking wood or removing stumps. He plays games with them. He helps me build things for them. He reads stories to them in French even though he has absolutely no idea how to speak French or pronounce any of it.  He slept with each of my babies on his chest, carried them around and burped them. He loves them as his own grandkids. And my kids love them as their Gedo in a way that they will never be able to feel for the grandfather they never had the chance to meet.

So on this day, even though I am tired from the early morning, the high-energy kids, and a daughter that did not want to nap, I want to show Gedo how much we love him and appreciate him in the best way I know how: making a roast chicken and gravy dinner and sharing it with them.

Thank you for being such a postive part of our lives, Ed. We never take for granted how fortunate we are to have you in our family. And how good you are at making pina coladas.

PS - And can you bring your weed-whacker when you come over? Tony wants to borrow it. We don't take that for granted either.