Who's Your Father?
a boy and his Dad relaxing after a long Father's Day celebration, 2005
"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony." Eva Burrows
We're not a family so much as a conglomeration. An amalgam. A merger, come to think of it. And unlike AOL-Time Warner, our family merger's been a rousing success for well over 30 years.
Both widowed, our mother married their father, adding two sisters to a sister and brother. But wait, there's more: our late father had been married previously, so there was already a third sister in the picture. (And just fyi, she gained another sister and brother when her mother remarried.)
Okay then, let's do the math: Full time, I have a mother, a father, three sisters and a brother. We don't say "half," we don't say "step." We just say sister, brother, Mom, Dad, and now, Granny and PopPop.
We've collectively given them 6 grandchildren, plus my older sister's kids have added 4 great-grandchildren.
One sister and I live in Philly. She has a boy and a girl, we have a son. The youngest sister lives in Connecticut, they have a son. The eldest sister lives in LA. Her kids are grown, live in NJ and MN and each have a boy and a girl. Our brother lives in DC ... wisely, we often think, without kids.
Our parents live in Florida. Mostly when they come East, I'm ground zero. And we all go there as often as we can. We've had our share of trials and tribulations, but we also have a lot to be grateful for, so when we get together, it's party time.
Father's Day became our biggest family celebration because there are so many add-ons.
Dad's birthday in May, along with one grandchild and her special son. Four June birthdays: Mom's, mine, a son-in-law and another grandchild. And that grandchild was born on Mom and Dad's wedding anniversary. Then three birthdays in July: my husband's, another sister and the sister of the special great-grandson above.
A lot of family, food, drink and a monster cake.
The last time we all gathered for Father's Day was two years ago at my niece's home at the Jersey shore. I hope it won't really be the last time.
younger sister, Dad, Mom, sister's husband, my kid, my husband, sister's kid
niece, younger sister again, older sister (aka niece's mother),
one of her grandchildren (top right)
One of my favorite memories is driving down the shore with Mom and Dad, my iPod plugged into the radio, music blasting through the speakers as we all sang along with Stevie Wonder, "I Just Called To Say I Love You."
Whenever I hear that song, I picture Dad belting out the lyrics, all the while looking at Mom and me to let us know how much he cared.
Even when we can't be together, I always call Dad to say, I Love You.