After an in depth and rather emotional as well as frank chat with my Mum I set off in a much better frame of mind to go back to see my Dad who was still down the pub where I had left him with the wife to be a few hours before.
I was hoping that they were not too drunk by now and thankfully they were not. Wife to be headed home as soon as I arrived to let Mum go home again and I sat down in front of my Dad and we sort of looked at each other a bit sheepishly not knowing where to start.
The realisation soon hit home that a pub somewhere near to closing time is not the best place to have an in depth conversation on the past so I looked at him with a bit of a grin and said,
“It’s not like I am going to start calling you by your first name or anything”
To which there was a bit of a smirk from him just briefly along with the comment
“I should bloody well hope not”.
That was it for then. You see we all react differently in these types of situations there is no right or wrong way nothing anyone can say or write that could make it all easy or make the past disappear in a heartbeat. No, where Mum wanted to talk in depth about it all all at once Dad did not want to talk much at all yet and that was all good by me as we sat there looking at each across the table. We would talk in depth over time when it was just the two of us, I know that it was a hard thing for him to do and I love him more for the fact that he would sit there and do it even though it would quietly upset him each time but that was our way, we are men you know and this stuff is emotional.
We don’t really bring it up these days, any of us, because it’s all in the past now…more years in the past than I care to admit but once what needs to be said is said you process it, put it away and move on, there is no need to live in the past it just shapes us into the people we are today.
So why am I writing about it all again now? I mean why bring it all up to the surface once again in my own mind? Well I had an interesting chat with a friend at work who had just found out something similar so this story came out just as in depth as I have written here and he was amazed that someone else felt exactly the same way as he did.
Also, and this is quite a big one, I decided that I would not hide anything like this from my own children from the start. I prefer to be honest and up front with them because it teaches life skills and also it becomes the “norm” which my type of family is in this our modern age. I had a 18 month old son who would need to be told a similar story as he grew up so the best way to do it in my eyes was to just have it out there from the start. I have four children in all two of which are not genetically mine but does this make a difference? are they any less my children because of this?
No, no they are not. They are my children and I love them dearly, as my family loves me, I would lay down and die for each and every one if it was asked of me. We don’t have those distinctions of half brother this, half sister that, step siblings and all of those other labels, we just have a family of brothers and sisters across the board and in my eyes that is as it should be.
Family is so much more than blood lines and genetics it is unwavering support from all of it including the extended lot. It is about acceptance that the world brought us together as a unit our different backgrounds and pathways that led us all to this one place are different as well as diverse and we are all made a bit more well informed and stronger because of them.
Family is about being pleased to see each other of that feeling of easy acceptance and the comfort of home when we are all together once again. Time does not matter, if it’s been six months since we were together as soon as we enter the same room it feels more like six minutes. It is the laughter, the ribbing, the new experiences brought home and shared. It is the different ways of life we have all chosen that we then bring together, each and every one of my siblings has chosen a very different course in life and we are the stronger for it. There is no judgement just questions and hopefully we all walk away a little wiser.
All of that is family to me. Not one line of heritage or some pieces of paper but many many lines of life brought together and you end up loving it all whether you wanted to or not.
That is the reason for me sharing this story. I have done it in instalments so I could get it all out the way I really wanted it to, to do it justice and in that time there have been a surprising amount of emails sent to me by people who are experiencing it right now and those who have similar history’s comparing notes. My experience was overall a positive one so this is not a tale looking for pity it is indeed a tale to look at and think “yea that is what family is about”
Sounds like I have finished with it all doesn’t it? Nope not by a long shot folks this part took place over a long weekend and as we all went to our beds at the end of that last long evening exhausted by what had come to light that thought came back into my mind,
“What does this other fella look like then?”…