The premise: Sometimes my brain complicates things way more than is necessary
My mom and her husband are visiting from Houston and every time I see them together it feels a little uncomfortable, it raises a few issues for me. They had a whirlwind and rather disconcerting romance, they met and married within about four months. When they got married I hadn’t met him and I couldn’t attend their completely secret (as in only my brother and his daughter were present and nobody but a few very close people even knew they were getting married) wedding as I had just given birth to the Girl. I finally met him a couple of months later, but by then the Husband had been diagnosed with leukemia and was spending his days in a sterile room in the hospital and frankly my mom’s new husband wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Also, he’s very reserved, so despite the fact that we spent two months in Houston at the beginning of the year I still don’t know him very well. Or at all really.
I’m still very unsettled about the whole situation, even though they’ve been together for three years now. Actually, one could say it’s rather unsettling to even be unsettled by a widowed parent’s remarriage as an adult.
Of course, on the one hand I’m thrilled that my mother has found someone, I never would have wanted her to be alone, but on the other hand, I didn’t expect her and my relationship with her to change quite so much.
Also, and rather more to the point, I’m not quite sure how to handle his relationship with my children. They don’t have a maternal grandfather figure. Or rather, he’s their maternal grandfather figure. And he really likes them, he actually acts like a grandfather, he plays with them and talks to them and watches over them when we’re at the park. He’s more grandparent-y than my mother is, as she’s not all that comfortable around, nor interested in, children.
Although, on a side note, she did manage to spend all of yesterday morning on the beach playing with them in the sand, which is probably the most she’s played with them this year.
But all this grandfatherish behavior makes me very uncomfortable. My kids, especially the boy, seek him out, they ask about him, he gets naturally paired with Nana when they ask about her and Houston. Of course, I get their perspective, he’s the guy they associate with a grandfather on my side of their family. He gets paired with Nana cause that’s all they know and an abstract grandpa who’s “in Heaven with the angels” looking over them just doesn’t make much real sense to them.
I guess I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that they’re so comfortable with a person with whom I’m so uncomfortable. He’s a virtual stranger to me, but he’s their grandfather figure.
I am happy that they have him, because it’s one extra person to love them, because they won’t miss out on having a full set of grandparents, because he’s a good guy and their lives will be the better for having him in them. But it still breaks my heart a little.
Right now they call him by his first name, but pretty soon, I’m sure, they’re going to start calling him grandpa or pappy or whatever they decide, and it breaks my heart that that person, that grandfather-y person in their hearts, won’t be my dad. It’s some guy my mother married and none of us really know.
My dad was such a huge catalyst force in my family, so many of our customs and traditions come from him, from his side of the family, that it feels like a betrayal of who we are, of who I am, of what my family is.
It’s so strange to have such conflicting and contrasting feelings. On the one hand I’m happy my mother isn’t alone, I’m glad my kids have two grandfather figures, I like him and his children, but I’m sad that my dad isn’t here to fulfill his role, I have a hard time adjusting to the meshing of the families.
I’m going to have to find a way to make it work, to not make my kids feel guilty for loving him, while keeping the memory of my father alive. I’m sure I’ll slowly become more comfortable around him, I’ll get to know him better, but it will never, it can never, be the same again so I guess in a way I’m happy for them, but I’m sad for me and what could have been.
Linking up today with Shell for Pour your heart out at Things I can’t say.
What a difficult situation to be in. On the one hand how lucky your children are to have a grandfather figure in their lie but on the other hand it seems like it minimizes your Dad’s life and traditions.
I never thought, when my mom remarried that it would have such an impact on our lives too.
Those are a lot of tough feelings to work through! Your father’s memory will be kept alive for your kids in the stories and pictures you share with them.
Thank you, I have to make more of an effort to share stuff with them for sure.
Oh this is not an easy situation. I genuinely feel for you and can understand why it is so complicated. I think you show a generous spirit though in wanting your children to have this relationship even while it causes you turmoil. It must be so hard. I hope you find ways to keep your beloved fathers memory alive in all your hearts. Take care.
I sometimes think it’s funny how things that are so complicated in my adult mind are actually so easy for the children. To me it’s this whole grandfather figure dilemma of missing my dad and wanting my kids to have a grandad, for them it’s just one more adult who loves them and wants to play with them. I wish I knew how to make things that simple too.
I see how this must be hard for you. I hope your children will know, as they get older, how special your father was and what an impact he made on your life.
I’m sure they will, plus this is mostly my problem, not theirs….grown ups tend to make things more complicated than they actually are!
We lost my dad three years ago. I can only imagine how we (my sisters and I) would deal with my mom finding someone new. And if that someone turned out to be a good grandfather (to our children who barely knew my dad), I have no idea how I’d cope with that. It sounds like you are doing your best to keep your children’s best interests at heart – seeing the value in their relationship with this man. Baby steps. You can only do what you can only do.
Kids tend to see things so much more simply- to them, he’s grandpa. And even though it’s more complicated than that, that’s what they see.