Hello! I am Tonette Joyce. You may have seen me put my two cents in here quite often, so often in fact, that the other Foxes and the Hound figured they may as well put me to work as your new Friday Fox. Lynn Rush has had to bow-out as she has become very busy with her family, life and career, (a multi-book contract! Yea, Lynn!). We wish her all the best and continued success. She will be missed by all of us.
In keeping with this week’s theme of fathers,
I am not going to talk about my father, (whose parenting skills are best left unmentioned), nor of my husband, (who seems to grow as a father to our sons as he excels in his grandfatherhood to their children). I am not even going to go on about my sons, (who, although they started young, were diaper-changin’ daddies from day-one and continue to be great hands-on dads).
No, I would like to give a shout-out to stepfathers, the men who truly take a parental role in the lives of the women they love.
My grandfather married later in life to a young widow with three sons. Although he and my grandmother afterward had seven children of that union, (including twins when he was sixty-one and she was forty-seven), my grandfather raised the older boys as his own; their children he considered his grandchildren. He trained two of them in his building business. One went on to have his own company; the other, (a charming scoundrel), went to LA and worked making models for the movies, before computer special effects. When that uncle retired he would come and tell warm tales of the family and of my grandfather. I think any man spoken well of by his black sheep stepson must have put his heart in his task as father.
My grandfather set up the oldest ‘boy’ in a store of his own, and he became my grandfather’s best friend. When he died tragically, suddenly at only 36 years old, my grandfather could not even bring himself to attend the funeral.
When that uncle’s widow remarried, her new husband could not have been a better father to my cousins and was an ‘uncle’ to us. Indeed, this family story of one Christmas was often told: My cousin received a ‘big-boy’ gift that his younger, (half) brother dreamed of getting. “Ya’s like him better’n me!” he cried to his parents. But, as in my mother’s family, the new siblings were never referred to as ‘half’ and they are considered cousins of ours, as well.
There are a number of examples in my side of the family, but I have to give credit to those on my husband’s side while I’m at it. There were fifteen children born to his mother and father and frankly, I have lost count of the number of nieces and nephews we have, (more than fifty, last approximation); some of these are stepchildren of brothers-in-law, who always claim them as their own. My father-in-law will as easily send out bragging emails of their accomplishments and announcements of great-grandchildren born to them as he will of any of his progeny.
As hard as it is for some men to step up to the role of father to their own flesh-and-blood, (and I applaud all who do), I give a special salute to the men who truly have to earn the title of ‘Dad’.