Saturday, June 16, 2007

Watch Your Step Baby

I think it was about six months ago that Amy started regularly bringing up the idea of having a baby.

Yes, it caught me off guard too.

Amy has such a sweet soul, and she really deeply wants to have "my" child. There are lots of logical arguments for her position, Amy loves babies, I love kids and seem to do really well with them until they're old enough to understand what I'm talking about, and there is no male on my side of the family who has produced a son to carry on the family name. So when my brothers and I pass on, our little contribution to the gene pool will likely go with us.

Amy was pretty head-strong about the idea of baby making for a while there. I think I was so stunned and too busy initially making sure she wasn't double dipping on her medications and hallucinating to really argue against the concept. Eventually I realized she was very serious and her desires were not something I could ignore. I then took the approach of gently reminding her that I will be 50 years old far too soon, that her health has not been the best and I wasn't sure getting pregnant would be medically advisable, plus - putting this as delicately as I can - about a decade ago we took a rather dramatic surgical step to make sure we wouldn't produce a baby.

Amy didn't flinch....saying I was a "young 50"...which I'm sure she intended to come out "young 49"...that she always loved being pregnant, and that with all the surgeries she's already endured one more to reverse the steps we took a decade ago would be "a piece of cake."

I think I may have been on the phone with the local Rubber Ramada when Amy's Mom called her on her cell phone.

Amy's Mom is great...and soon I was confidently canceling my reservation for a padded room - with two single beds (I was just being cautious). I didn't hear the conversation but knowing that my Mother-in-law is a Godly woman blessed with immense wisdom, I imagine she delivered a well thought out, loving and gentle reply when Amy mentioned her renewed passion for pregnancy. It probably sounded something like, "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?"

Actually, I'm sure she was far more delicate than that, but whatever she said worked. Amy dropped the idea of becoming a Mom and I stopped having nightmares about how I would possibly be able to coach a Little League team while stooped over using a walker.

So I'm not a father, and I'm not going to be one. I'm fine with that...after all I do have three kids.

Sorry, I suppose that could be confusing. I am a "step" father...I have a "step" son, and two "step" daughters. They have a wonderful Dad whom they rightly love and who loves them. I never had the pleasure of wiping their spittle off my shoulder or learning to enjoy making goo-goo sounds while saying flattering things about the contents of their diapers. Still, as far as I'm concerned they're my children too...maybe not by blood, but by love.

I'll admit I didn't always feel that way. Many years ago I wrote about how difficult it was being a stepfather for me in what in hindsight I see was essentially a moment of rather obvious self-pity. It was before I had a blog but the piece is still up on the Internet, I called it "Step Lightly Step dad."

I hadn't read that in a long time...I actually forgot I had written it, until late this afternoon. It came to mind I suppose because I had spent most of Saturday morning writing other things...three rather lengthy emails to be precise.

The content of those emails are not for publication, but I will tell you this much I made sure to tell the three recipients how much I love them, and how very honored I am to be their "step" dad.

I can't think of a better way to mark Father's day.

What has become, somewhat inadvertently, my "traditional" Father's day post modified slightly by the reality of time is here.

Thank you Dad.