Monday, June 18, 2007

Our Dad

Yesterday was the first Father’s Day I spent with my dad since I moved to Florida. This also means it was the first one I was around for since my dad got remarried and officially became a “dad” again. I have been meaning to write this post for a long time now, and it seems in light of Father’s Day that this is as good a time as any.

For those of you who may not know, my stepsister was adopted from China by my stepmother, who was unmarried at the time. So technically she’s my stepsister because my dad married her mom, but because she doesn’t have any other dad but mine (well, now ours), she’s really closer to being like a half-sister. And even though my dad and stepmom got married just a couple years ago, they had been together quite a while, making my dad the only one my stepsister has really ever had. My dad and my stepsister always had a good relationship, but when my dad and stepmom finally got married, the roles of “father” and “daughter” really solidified. I always feel a little weird, growing up as an only child and now at 27 having an 11 year-old sister. But my dad was really young the first time around and now this second time around, he’s got experience under his belt.

If I wanted to write about my stepsister, I’d tell you about how she’s thoughtful, bubbly, witty, affectionate, and sweet. But what I mostly wanted to write about was fathers and daughters. Normally, I’d generalize as “kids” but it should be noted that my dad has always been a man surrounded by strong women, and my stepsister is certainly no exception. And recently, after watching stepsis try to style Dad’s hair, I asked him if he’d ever wished he could have tried raising a boy, he assertively replied, “not for a second.”

Now that I’m a grown woman, I really just like to observe dad and stepsis. I love to watch him be a dad again, see him take the same approach that he did with me so many years ago. I see the same gentleness and patience and feel so happy that stepsis can grow up with the same dad I did. At the age of 11, I can see how much she knows this already. One really good thing about the age difference is that I never feel in direct competition with stepsis. My turn is done, and now it’s her turn. While my dad’s personality and outlook hasn’t changed much over the years, life has a way of changing everything around us. This often makes me reflect on the differences stepsis and I have had growing up. By this I mean our childhood homes, our extended families, our pets, the frequented restaurants, (not to mention our moms…). But Dad’s a constant. And I feel lucky to be able to watch my dad be a father through adult eyes, it makes me appreciate my own childhood with him so much more. Maybe in a few years when stepsis is closer to being grown, and there’s another batch of little ones running around, she’ll be able to know what I’m talking about.


Beth said...

Wow, that would be such a thing to see. I was the youngest in my father's brood (he had two families), so I never saw him parent again from afar. I imagine it would give you a new appreciation. I always wanted a little brother or sister. No such luck.

magnetbabe said...

I have to admit, I'm glad she came into the picture while I was a little older. I don't know how well I would've handled it in early adolescence!

Christopher said...

I have been away from your blog for a few days and had no idea you posted this piece. Thank you for such a kind and wonderful reflection into the past and observance of the present. I have felt so much joy watching you and Emma bond over the last few weeks – something that might not have ever occurred if your internship had not taken place. Having both of you around this summer is the best Father’s Day gift a guy could hope for. Thank you.

terri said...

What a lovely post. You are so lucky to have such a good Dad. You are also very accepting of the new sister, which is very liberated and evolved of you. I would likely feel a twinge of jealousy that "my Dad" is now someone else's (I'm an only child too). You are lucky to be both wise and well-parented!

magnetbabe said...

Thanks for reading. I just hope I conveyed what a great dad you are and a special person to want to do it all over again with just as much love, patience and enthusiasm as you had sixteen years ago. Spending so much time with her lately, I can see why you'd want to.

Good to see you again. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such kind words!