(I posted this earlier today on my Facebook mostly because I wanted those closest to me to see it first, but I also felt I needed to share it on here..)
On this day I thought I’d share a funny (at least it was to me in a way) story..
About a year ago I was applying for life insurance and of course there were all the standard questions that come with that… Those included such questions as “are there any major medical conditions on your father’s side of the family?” and “has there been any major medical issues with your father?” – I don’t think those were the exact questions now that I think about it, but you get the idea and if you’ve ever applied for this kind of life you know exactly what they are trying to figure out…
Without hesitation I went into some of my grandfather’s medical history that I knew of (he had passed away a year or two earlier but suffered from diabetes and a few other ailments) and of course my father who also had diabetes and had actually had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery the year prior. (He actually went in to a clinic because he thought he had really bad, persistent heartburn and was quickly diagnosed with something much more severe, but it kind of gives you an indication of just how strong – and fortunate – he is.)
As I understand it, these are important things that are being asked and you need to be honest with insurance companies when it comes to family medical histories.
Only one problem with all that. My dad isn’t my birth-dad.
He married my mom (who is my birth-mom just so that’s all clear) when I was six years old, and adopted me shortly after. I’ve never actually met my birth-father (who left when I was one or two years old, so maybe I should say I don’t remember ever meeting him) let alone know what his or his side of the family’s medical history is.
But my Dad isn’t my birth-father and so obviously his medical history really doesn’t factor into mine even though I spoke very naturally as if I came from a long linage of Middleton men.
It wasn’t until later that night as I watched TV and was replaying the whole questioning process in my head that I came to the sharp realization that I screwed up. While I was a bit panicked and called the next day to explain to the insurance people what I had done without even really thinking, I had to at least laugh and appreciate just how natural all that was to me.
My Dad is my Dad.
From day one he’s never made me feel like I was some afterthought as part of the package deal for falling in love with my mom and treat me as such, which if we’re being honest a lot of men have been guilty of if they didn’t just outright run the other way the moment they realized the woman they were dating had a six year old child.
Remember this was the mid-80’s where attitudes towards single mothers were a bit different. (Not by much mind you, but I feel things are a tad bit better for single parent families relatively speaking,)
He then had a very difficult task of becoming an instant dad to a six year old brat who certainly didn’t make things easy on him not fully realizing just how hard a task the new father had. He didn’t get the benefit most fathers get of growing up with his new son to see his emotions and interests develop or have a hand in any of my early development.
The plane was already moving down the runway, he had to jump in and try to learn how to fly with it before it really took off the ground. It wasn’t easy – for either of us really – we both have different personalities and we clashed early and often. But through all of that he (along with mom mom of course) not ever once made me feel as though I wasn’t loved or provided for to the best of their abilities. I certainly never went through life ever thinking I would have had things better if my birth-dad was in the picture. On the contrary, I’ve always felt my dad has made it so much easier to have zero regrets or wishes to know my birth-father.
Dad is Dad. I didn’t truly appreciate it in my teens or even in my 20’s but I certainly do now.
It also made me understand that the title of “dad” isn’t set in blood. There are many different types of fathers under various sets of circumstances and they all should be celebrated.
So Happy Fathers Day to all fathers and especially to mine who isn’t my “adopted father” or “second dad” but is just simply Dad whom I love very much.