The Truth About Fathers and Steps 11/29/00

Have you ever considered that true fathers, like true love, only happen once in a lifetime? And that, even though you were born with one, and your mother married a few more that thought they could be one, you were really only meant to have one true father? For example, let's take me (maybe to Jamaica, I hear it's nice). The father I was born with did his damndest to destroy every ounce of self-worth that I possessed, which has taken me more than fifteen years to gradually get over. If he concerned himself with my well-being, I bet he'd just fall the hell over. He's given me pain, frustration, scorn, and occassionally money accompanied with hour-long lectures on my worthlessness. He has given me little else. My mother's second husband arguably had a lower maturity level than me, who was ten at the time. Our major fights were over who got to play the Nintendo. I'm not even kidding. Really. I think maybe the issue was that he knew that he would never measure up in my (!) eyes, and further, that he knew he would be unable to measure up at all.

Now, at almost twenty one years old, my mommy married this man, who, like he blubbered, I called my STEPFATHER. I don't know him very well yet, but because of my infallible ability to see into the hearts of others, I know that this one will always be able to measure up. So, I can say to Mr. Steele (if he's done crying now) that I'm happy you came along and made my mommy happy. I'm honored to let you be my son's true grandfather. I bless the life you will live with the mother I love so much. And I would have to say that I wouldn't mind you being my true father. As long as you give me an allowance. A really big one. And ten percent of your royalties.

There's my observation. Be careful not to blubber too much -- it'll ruin your keyboard.

The Younger Junior Steele

Blubber! Hah! Hah, I say! I'm tough! Tough! You hear?

That's right, Readers ... more sappy family stuff. I probably should have put this out there for Thanksgiving, it being a family-type holiday and all ... but I just got caught up in a whole lot of other things.

More super-secret stuff. Can't talk about it yet. If something comes of it, I promise you'll all simultaneously be the seventh to know.

Before I get too far, I love you too, Younger Junior Steele.

I know the men she's talking about. Met them both. Did shows with them in fact, in the days when Mrs. Steele was Mrs. Someone-else. (Oh -- and just for the record -- there was nothing going on between us in those days.) (She didn't even flirt with me.) (Which is best -- because how could I trust her now if she had?) (And if she wouldn't flirt with me, who the heck would she flirt with?)

Gah. I hate when I do that.

The most recent husband -- the one who would argue over who's turn it was to play the video game? -- he wasn't that bad a guy, from my perspective. A little stupid, not the sort of guy you'd want to let say more than a couple of sentences in a row for fear of allowing him to embarass himself and degrade the room, but not a bad guy. Of course, I wasn't married to him, and he turned out to be physically abusive and a failure as a Man and as a Person (and, a spectacular failure as a stepfather)... but aside from those little flaws and the whole pinheaded thing, not a bad guy at all.

The husband before that -- the one Younger Junior Steele is so disappointed with at the moment -- I didn't even know him as well as the recent one, which wasn't well at all. I know he's a bad actor, but you can't exactly call that a personality flaw, can you? I mean, lots of really bad actors are nice people. I was a bad actor myself, once. But from what I've come to know of him since I took Mrs. Steele's hand in marriage ... well, let's just say that he does have a few short-comings as a father. It was inevitable really, considering the short-comings of his own parents. I'm sure he did the best he could with what he had to work with, just like all fathers do -- just like I'm gonna strive to do, if given the chance. Tune in twenty-five years from now, so we can talk about the resentment my adult daughter has for me.

Younger Junior Steele, I'd be honored to be a father to you -- to you and your sister both. And I'm honored to be 'Papa' to your son. And I'll do my best to be true to my love for your mother, and to you guys. Always.

But don't give up entirely on your father. He has limitations and flaws (just like we all do), but he's not trying to be a Bad Person. He's just doing the best he can in applying the warped lessons he learned when he was young. There's going to come a time when he needs you for something ... and when that time comes, you'll get the satisfaction of tossing him into a retirement home and throwing away the key.


Um ... but you'll never put me inna home, right? Er ... right?