Probably. I know that I can still look down at my daughter, snuggled under her blankie (a/k/a woobie) fast asleep and feel a pang in my heart that can come from nothing else. Love often heals all wounds, and that kid has got a permanent place in my heart. She makes me laugh, cry, angry, happy, frustrated, joyful, and about a half dozen other emotions all at the same time. She is the reason that I can look at Father’s day and not gag on the Hallmark hype and the Disney slant.
When she calls me “Poppa” and says that she loves me, then all the past anguish melts and my troubles seem to evaporate. No one can replace that part of her that is me, or the part of me that is her. It is a special relationship that will last me until my final days. It is the memory of a bouncing cat and the many other happy times, and will be the memories of the challenge of facing new kids and the obstacles of the teenage years. It is rewarding, even if it is all consuming. It is not for the weak of heart, and for those who lack adventure don’t bother to apply. As for the Step-dad job? Well, I can now say that Bill Cosby was right, you haven’t really been a parent until you have more than one.................... The transition is well on its way, and in another few years I will either be used to it, or I will be in a sanitarium...............Who knows??????
TODAY: Well, now I DO know. I survived it. Mostly anyway, although many might think that a grown man who writes a science fiction book should probably be institutionalized. The oldest girl now has a baby of her own, and a great husband. She too is mentioned in my Dedication, and without question, she is a huge part of what is now helping me stay sane in my day job. She is also blessed with a son who is just like her, with a dash of his dad, and a pinch of me. God, my daughter is so hosed!! As for the rest, the “7 year old” is in the Army National Guard, while the “5 year old” works with kids and actually is pursuing an acting career. The youngest, that little baby with the bouncy foot and curls? She is in college, and still under foot, but that’s okay. Finally, my bride and I outnumber the number of kids present in the house. For ONCE, we have more hands that kids, which is always a plus.
I hope you enjoyed the last several weeks of this little serial tale of parenthood. There are tons more stories and observations, but they will be meaningless to most, and tedious to everyone but us. Still, if you’re interested, then “go forth and multiply!” Just do so at your own risk! ~ Michael S. Pauley