The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time. Wow! After taking a few breaths and deciding to dial that was the message that I got. I haven’t talked to my father, birth father, in a long time. I remember that last Father’s Day, I thought about calling him and I never got around to it. I felt guilty about not taking a few minutes to call and after that I just let time pass without reaching out. We had a reunion a couple of years ago. My brother, his young son, my two kids and I met up with my father, his wife and his sister, my aunt in Miami. We had finally communicated by phone after about 20 years. After we saw each other face to face and spent a little time together we continued to call each other periodically. He told my brother and I that after finally reuniting with us again, he could die happy.
Last year, I have to admit that I felt awkward calling him for father’s day. Or felt more awkward to honor him as a father on this special day not having had him in my life for so long.
It felt dishonest to do that. I consider my step-dad of the past quarter of a century to be my Dad. He came into our lives very naturally having had connections with my mom’s family forever through his family business. My mom had known him for years and happened to work with him when he asked her out on a date. It worked out and they married and he took over the father figure role for my teenaged brother and I. He kept his distance and respected my mom’s parenting of us only stepping in to help resolve conflicts and alleviate some of her burden.
There were lots of struggles and we rebelled a lot at that time. It was probably one of the hardest periods for my mom as a parent and there he was right by her side. He had and still does have a calm and peaceful energy that balances out the crazy stuff. Looking back now on all that they went through as a newly married couple starting a new life and throwing in a couple of pain in the butt teens that were hell bent on getting into trouble and rebelling against moving to the burbs and changing high schools. That was a test like no other. But, he swept in with grace and respectfully found his place among our family of three, never intruding or overstepping. He didn’t crowd us or impose on our space but he was involved and cared. That takes superhuman powers in my book. He’s the grandpa that my kids have always known and adored. The grandpa that would get down on the floor with them to play action figures and build Lego towers with. He’s been the grandpa that would tirelessly play wrestle with them and catch them when they came down the slide. He’s the one that connects with them now as they’ve grown into young men. He’s been the fine example of fathering that they can look up to when their time comes to parent. I’m grateful for this wonderful, kind-hearted and honorable Dad that chose to step up for my brother and I, an unruly, rebellious pair. He was tested but he never lost his cool, his love has always shined through and he’s been the rock that we could always rely on. My Dad couldn’t be more proud and supportive of all of us and we feel it in his thoughtfulness and actions. He’s the first one that I call to honor on this Father’s Day. He couldn’t be more humble and gracious. I love him and am so blessed that he’s a part of our lives. My boys are blessed to call him Grandpa.