As I wrote this blog yesterday before posting it for Father’s Day, my grandkids are playing in the pool. I’m nearby in the shade on the patio, a cool drink by my side. They arrived in the afternoon and within minutes they jumped in with all their clothes on, splashing and yelling with joy as kids do. The older two are racing; the youngest is testing her ever-increasing swimming skills by swimming from one side of the pool to the other. By the time the week is over, I’m betting she’ll be swimming laps. I am in bliss.
I have no kids of my own (my running gag is that I have no kids of my own that I know about!). Judy’s kids were adults when we got together, so I don’t feel like a step-father to them…more like a good friend who has a stepfather’s love and interest in their well-being. Stacy already had two children and JC had one on the way. They now have three each. They may not be blood, but I feel like they’re my own grandkids and I love them as much.
My own father was a workaholic who wasn’t always around, but he did his best to be part of our lives. Even when my parents divorced, he took part in my hobbies. He taught me how to build and fly model airplanes. He taught me to sail and then how to race sailboats.
Like many sons of divorced parents, I adopted my best friend’s dad as my surrogate. As Chris and I had similar interests, it was easy for him to be there for both of us. My mom, dad and Chris’ dad are no longer with us, but I miss them always and am truly grateful for their positive impacts on my life. I wouldn’t be the man I am — or the “father” I am — without their influence.
They also remind me that being a father means so much more than merely spreading one’s bloodline, it’s about caring and shaping the lives of the sons and daughters — even if not their own — through their love, deeds, and characters.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. If you can, explore a little with your dad!
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