So, Chet approached me again today at work... (See yesterday's ENTRY if you don't know what I'm talking about in this post and want more details.]
He said, "Miles* [I'll explain that after], I have this for you." Then he gave me some church anti-gay literature (a brochure that I tossed without reading) and turned on his heel and left without another word. So much for trying to be understanding on my side. I think we'll probably speak only when work forces it on us from now on...
[*Miles is my first name. Everyone at work except for Chet calls me Milo, my nickname. Heck, my family calls me Milo! I think it's just another sign of how... pompous (?) Chet is that he won't use my nickname to address me. Sigh.]
When I got home tonight Dad told me that he'd just met our new neighbor across the street. lol. The encounter went like this...
Dad's out on the porch opening a can of green beans for supper with a can opener. The neighbor waves and Dad gestures her over and they chat for a few minutes. Then she looks pointedly at the can he's holding. "We've got cats," Dad told her, by way of explanation. Then she nodded and they both laughed and she headed back home and Dad headed back inside to the kitchen...
[For those of you who don't have cats, now and then we'll open a can of tuna for them as a treat. So whenever they hear the can opener opening any can, they come running expecting tuna! lol. I guess Dad didn't want them under foot while he was fixing dinner...]
I love my family. lol.
I'm off to read to Missy and the family for a bit before grabbing a much-needed nap! (Can't wait to finish so we can start reading the fifth "Harry Potter" book!)
I had an interesting experience at work today. A co-worker (I used to think of him as a friend, but I'm not sure I want to refer to him that way anymore). Anyway, Chet came up to me and asked if he could have a word in private.
Yeah, I knew he was a Southern Baptist. It's never mattered to me one way or another. I'm happy for him that he has a religion that means so much to him. (Hey, I believe in God and attend church now and then with my own family, but I'd feel the same if he were a practising atheist.)
And I know a lot of people think you shouldn't share your beliefs with co-workers. But I'm not one of those people. Share away. Why not? If it's something important to you it seems likely you'd share it to some degree, seeing as most of our time is spent at work, rather than at home.
Anyway, Chet wanted to know why I was so candid about having two dads living in my home. He asked me why I didn't just discuss one of my dads and avoid mentioning the other.
And he asked me if it didn't bother me to have a dad who stayed at home the way a mother would. For some reason it was very clear that Chet thought this was an unnatural and unhealthy situation.
He ended by asking me if I wanted to 'end up being like my dad.'
Let's skip ahead at this point...
I came home tonight to a house that was full of the smell of dinner and happy laughter.
Dad was in the kitchen and I could see that he was clearly exhausted. He was standing over the stove checking on the food while he leaned down to talk with my kid sister Missy.
Missy was chattering away to Dad in her usual highly animated fashion. She was head to toe dirt, with a twig caught in her hair. And beamingly happy.
Dad walked to the sink and ran a washcloth under warm water and then he began to gently rub off the streaks on Missy's face and to clean her hands while she chattered away. Dad caught sight of me and gave me a welcoming wink and a smile.
Of course then Missy saw me and started to tell me all about her day and all the work she'd done. Her work is never done (just ask her). That's one of her favorite phrases lately. lol. She's so proud of her role in the family as Dad's helper.
And I know I was grinning huge. I could picture Dad trying to clean with Missy under foot trying to help him and getting into everything. I've watched him with her. It's much more work for him to try to teach her how to clean. He'd have an easier time just doing the work and sending her off to play. But she loves to help and he wants her to learn. So he takes the time to encourage her efforts and keep her entertained while still managing to do his work at home.
The house was clean and the food was waiting. I'd noticed when I came in that the front porch had been partly scrubbed down, too. (A filthy job, but Dad really wants to give it a fresh coat of paint, so it needs to be washed and scrapped first.)
Yeah, our house isn't spotless by any means. But it's what I think of as 'comfortable clean.' (It's clean enough to make you feel well-ordered and good, but not so clean that you feel odd putting your feet up on the coffee table or sitting on the sofa after working in the yard...)
Anyway, the doorbell rang and Missy dashed off to peer out through the curtain that covers the window near the door. (It's hard to describe. But there's a thickly-paned window on either side of the door. Very narrow, running from the floor to the top of the door. If you pull the curtain aside you can see out to the porch to get a look at who is at the door.)
Dad's taught her that. To not just open the door to a stranger. She's become very good at checking first.
Missy then turned the deadbolt and lock and opened the door and one of our many 'uncles' (close family friend) came in, greeting her and making sure himself that the door was firmly closed and locked behind him.
Dad goes over and gives him a hug and tells him he's just in time for dinner. Won't he join us? He agrees.
I've seen my Dad welcome total strangers that accompanied some family friend to our home. I've seen him say he's just eaten or isn't hungry when he doesn't have enough food to stretch for one more, because he's never going to turn someone away hungry from our house. (And if we only have enough dessert for Missy, then suddenly Dad won't feel like a bowl of ice cream... lol.)
I've seen him sit up all night long when my Dad or Missy is sick. To be there by the bed, just in case.
He's not a great housekeeper. He's not that good at ironing. He's not a great cook. But he does all these things anyway, with a willing heart.
He's a great dad. Not perfect (no one is). But amazingly loving. Always trying. Willing to say he's sorry when he feels he's been wrong. The most generous and comforting parent around.
And when I see how happy Missy is and think how she's just bloomed since coming to live with us, I realize that my dad is a very big part of why that's true.
So when I turned to answer Chet I tried not to let my anger get the better of me. I knew my Dad would have urged me to be understanding and patient.
I just said, "Yeah, Chet. I hope I end up just like my dad, actually. That's maybe one of the nicest things anyone has ever suggested for my future."
And then I smiled at him and walked away.
He was apparently so shocked he didn't have another word to say to me after that.
And while I write this I realize I'm not that mad at him. His perception of what my Dad is like is based on ignorance. He simply doesn't know any better. And while I'd love to inform him, I realize it's probably a losing battle, not worth the effort.
Frankly, I have a hunch Chet will avoid me from here on out. He's going to be thinking that I was referring to wanting to be gay. And that's going to be scary to him.
But what I really was referring to was being a good man. A devoted life-partner. And a really great dad.
I wouldn't change my Dad. And I wouldn't trade for any other dad around.
Yeah, I've got two wonderful dads. And one of these days I'll do an entry about my other dad. But today I just wanted to remind myself of how lucky I am.
Do I have family issues and angst? Very few, really. Yeah, I fight with my dads (the way anyone would fight with their parents). And sometimes Missy drives me crazy. There are days I wish I didn't have quite such a large 'extended family' that tend to drop by unexpectedly and stay longer than is convenient.
But most days I'm just wildly happy to live the life I do. My parents love each other and they love us. Missy is amazing and special and the light of our lives. I have more family and friends in my life than most anyone else I know. It's great, even when it's not. Does that make sense?
Our house is a pleasant spot for gays, lesbians, bis and even straights! (That's a joke, by the way. Ha, ha, even straight people are welcome here...) We've often got kids mingling with our numerous cats and other pets. (Minus one dead and very lamented fish, though.)
I wish every single one of my online friends had a family as great as mine...