Around here we don’t hide anything about our family situation. I’m Poppy. The kids have a mom and a dad. Their parents live in a different home. The kids and me live in our home. And we are a family.
We even have little stick figures on the back window of our vehicle showing a male parent, a big brother, and a little sister…and a cat..to authenticate that we are indeed a family!
Sure, it’s a rather non-conventional family. But I don’t try to pretend it’s something that it’s not.
It’s not a lot of things. It’s not a family where there is a mom and a dad. It’s not even a family where there is a grandmother and grandfather. It’s just a family where there are two children and a Poppy.
They see other families with a dad and a mom. So, they know what a regular family is or should be. But they don’t complain about it. They just try to synthesize what we are with what other kids’ families are.
And if the children need something more from me than just being their Poppy, then I’m honored to oblige. If they need me to be Dad (or Mom) then I will be there for them in that capacity (though I don’t do “Mom” as well as I would like; see here and here).
Kaleb calls me both “Dad” and “Poppy.” He uses the titles interchangeably. I don’t know exactly when or why, but sometimes he says “Dad” and sometimes “Poppy.”
But Kenzie has always called me “Poppy” (except one time for a few weeks she called me “Pa Pa;” I didn’t much like it and she finally stopped).
This last weekend was a long weekend, a holiday weekend. So, the last night of the long weekend, I let the kids eat popcorn, watch TV, and sleep in my king-size bed.
The next morning Kaleb woke up first and began stirring around in bed. Then Kenzie began to wake up and as she opened her eyes she turned her head toward me and said, “I love you, Daddy.”
For a brief moment in time, the world, my world, slowed to a standstill as I cherished the words she had just spoken.
I was overwhelmed! I was completely fulfilled as a human being, as a grandparent, but most of all as a dad!
With all the sincerity of a four-year-old, she had expressed exactly what she felt at that moment when she first woke up.
And for that brief moment in time while my world was at a standstill, I basked in the glow of her genuine and sincere declaration of love…
And I savored that fatherly feeling, that paternal instinct, that sense of vigilance and protection a man wants to provide for his little girl…
“I love you too, daughter.”
I am paternally yours!