Thursday, May 26, 2011
There Ain't No Steps In This House
The young man, the young father, who let his children do funny, unspeakable things to him as he slept. Put hair bows in his hair, painted his toenails, and combed the hair on his legs. The man who played "Tickle, Tickle and Jack" when his kids would beg to be tickled until they could no longer breathe. As he re-lived those memories, I watched the youth of yesteryear's, resurrect itself on his face. Suddenly I could picture him with longer, darker, hair. Hair long enough for a hair bow or a barrette. And his laughter, I doubt sounded much different. After all, his sense of humor and laughter is what had me at "Hello".
I don't know my husband's children very well. And now, they are both adults. With children of their own. But through his memories and their Facebook pictures and stories, I have been able to follow all of them. Watch them change and grow. Watch their family's grow and develop. New relationships, and more children. Which brings me to where my thoughts originally started with this story.
Mims has been a Daddy to my children since they were three and twelve. While they did not put hair bows in his hair or comb the hair on his legs, they were surely just as exposed to him as if they were his own. Zach has been watching his every move and without knowing it, mimicking his speech, his walk, and his mannerisms since they first met. And Joshua, while being the brains of our family, was humbled at the early age of fifteen during a "history brawl" in our house one night.
You can't take people at face value. You can't decide by someones dialect what they do or do not know. If I close my eyes, right this minute, I can still see the look of shock on Josh's face as he continued to quiz and test Mims and nothing he threw his way would stump him. Josh was not used to being challenged, or to losing.
But as with all children, one will take in more in than another. Absorb the character. Like a second skin. And Zachary, could be his twin. When Zach was about five years old, he took his first little two wheeler bike completely apart. He called us outside to come and look at what he had done. Parts lying around everywhere. Nuts, bolts, strewn from here to yonder. He was so proud of himself! Mims looked down at him and said, "Well that's pretty good son, but the real job, the real deal, is if you can figure out how to put all back together again. That's when you'll truly know you've done something". He smiled, his slow lazy smile, and went back into the house. A couple of hours later, back inside Zachary came, calling us to once again, come and look. And I'll be danged, if he didn't have that entire bike put back together again. If there was a part missing, I didn't see it. I can't tell you how many times, over the years, Zachary has dismantled one thing or another and put it right back together.
We have no steps in our house. No step moms, no step dads, no step brothers or sisters. I have never liked those words. They seem so despondent. So irrelevant. So separate. Family's are not supposed to be separate. They should be cohesive and joined. Those words give the appearance of relationships that are not whole. I heard something the other day and it fit so perfectly. Someone asked a young girl was such and such her step sister and she said no, she is my bonus sister. Isn't that a beautiful way to say that, to describe a relationship that was not yours to begin with, but became yours by fate and good fortune?
I have "watched" and I know that my bonus daughter Tina, feels the same about her bonus children. She loves them as her own. I can see it in the pictures, and I can hear it in her words. I wish Tina and Jody could have known their Daddy better, longer. But I know without knowing Diane, their Mother, personally, they were raised by a good, strong woman. A woman who struggled at times as a single parent, but did what she had to do to make it work. I know this, because I was that woman. For thirteen years. And I know, that children do not raise themselves. They must have guidance, love and strength. And while their Daddy felt all of those things for them, he was eight hours away for a good part of their lives. Miles are hard to overcome when you need your Daddy. Unfortunately, both of my boys know the same thing with their natural Father. Distance is hard to overcome. But my boys have a bonus Daddy. And I am so proud, I have a bonus daughter who is willing to share what was originally hers and her brothers.
I'd like that terminology to be the new, accepted word. Worldwide. Everything about the word "Bonus" radiates positiveness. It's warm, it's additional, it's extra, and it's a gift. I'm proud to be a bonus Mama, Grandmother, Aunt and Sister in Law. And I am so VERY proud, my sons have a Bonus Daddy, Sister, Brother, and Cousins. Family is everything, no matter how many blends and colors you add to it. It all should meld into one until you no longer see lines or shadows. Just love.