Let's introduce you to my Daddy.
My Dad is a lanky 6'4" man. When I was younger people always used to think he was my brother. He just looked very young. Having the number of children he has and running his own business, among other things has taken a little bit of a toll and he is now a bit gray in the hair and has aged enough over the past couple of years to actually look like he is my dad. These things do catch up to you.
Mom and Dad got unhitched when I was four. I like the word unhitched better than the D word. Anyway, I only got to live with my Dad the first four years of my life, but I did get to see him every other weekend for lots of years. It may sound strange, but because I don't really remember them together that much, I never wished that they would be married again. I liked my life the way it was, and though I would have liked to see my dad everyday, that was probably the only thing that I would have changed.
Dad has a very generous and forgiving spirit. As far back as I can remember my Dad has always been helping someone. He gives his time, his money, his home, his heart. Even after he is taken advantage of, Dad will forgive and hold out his hand to help the same person repeatedly. Some say it is to a fault, but he always says that Christ told us to turn the other cheek and to forgive. His life, though I have not been with him for the day to day, has often made me look at my own with eyes toward change and growth. The good thing about it is that looking at his life doesn't make me seek to be like him, but has caused me to seek to be more like Christ.
That good stuff said, there are some weird things about Dad too. He is very silly and random. You never know what you are going to get with him, which is great when you are a kid. I remember when we were little he used to answer the phone (remember that this was before caller ID) with random words just to get us laughing. He would answer with whatever word we asked him to. Sometimes it was a color, sometimes it was "barbie", other times it was "pancakes"...each time in place of hello.
Dad never says hello, it's always, "Merry Christmas." Unless of course it's actually Christmas time, then you will probably get Bah Humbug or Happy Birthday. His girls are called his boys and his sons are called daughters. I wonder if some people used to think that he was so weird because he had so many small children. But...well, most of us are grown and the youngest are still in their early teens. He still does it. I guess they all know that it's just him now. My Dad is a silly, silly man.
When Handsome and I first got married, Dad had an old milking barn that was converted into an apartment on his property. He let us live there rent free, which helped us save up money to buy our first house. We were far enough from the main house to have our privacy, but close enough that I didn't get too scared on the nights when I was by myself in our first three months. (Handsome had a quarter left at a school over the mountain pass when we got married, so he was only home on weekends.)
I appreciated it at the time, but I think that I appreciate it even more after actually going out to buy a house. What a blessing that is.
Dad's family is also very close. My Dad's side of the family is LDS (Mormon) and I think that has something to do with how great they are at seeing each other all the time. Family is important to them. There are often things that I miss about that lifestyle and church and the importance of family is one of them. Don't get me wrong, Handsome and I work very hard at creating that for our children too, but it's different. We aren't given as many tools to foster that. My dad and his brothers talk and see each other all the time and used to regularly play basketball together...weekly. I am not sure if they do anymore.
(Some of the J family at my brother's wedding in summer of 2008. All but one of my dad's kids are in this picture.)We also used to have family dinner together every Sunday. And while it got too hard with our kids going to bed so early, it was a nice thing to see. The J family assimilates people. Once they get ahold of you, you are family whether you like it or not. It's a special memory that does make me who I am today.
There was a wedding this fall. Dad got married again to a lovely lady L. She has five children of her own who are still young and it brought a lot of life back to their house. (As if they were lacking with the number of teens they have. Hah!) I haven't had much chance to get to know her, but the times we have talked have been nice.
Notice. I haven't told you how many children there actually are. That is because it will be more fun for me to let them unfold week by week for you. Know this- I will skip out on extras (siblings by marriage) for the time being. In a couple of weeks you will start to meet the siblings and I want you to know that they are blood siblings. Trust me, it's hard enough to keep those ones straight.
If you are doing the math then you will realize that some of the siblings are half...if I didn't include those, then you would only get one brother...I forget that I even have "half" in there. When it's that way your whole life, you don't really even think about those details. Especially the siblings that I lived with full time (Mom's side).
Well, that's enough for today. Have a great weekend!