My fake Daddy
31 January 2013
Children have a marvellous way of looking at the world. When they’re little, they’re just so pure. Uncorrupted if you like. Life is innocent and fun. People too.
They have an ability to take a situation, something they’ve seen or heard or perhaps experienced, and break it down into bit sized chunks. Chunks they’re able to digest and understand. To take it down to something they can relate to and that makes logical sense to them. They don’t like anomalies. Things that don’t fit the norm and pattern. They like order and a feeling of all-is-right with their world. I think the unexplained makes them feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Sure, when they’re a certain age, they adapt and change. But only when they’re ready to accept a new frame of reference or the broadening of their horizons. Then they’re more susceptible and easy to guide and accept different things.
As adults we have conditioned them this way, by cushioning them from some of life’s hard blows. Beloved pets quite often don’t die. They go to “live on a farm in the countryside” instead. All neat, tidy and perfectly reasonable. Unless they’ve got an enquiring mind and then honesty is the best policy. In fact, it usually is.
Amber never knew my Dad, her real grandfather. Instead, Daya, my awesome stepdad is a fantastic grandfather to her. Rob and my mom hooked up when Amber was born. We’d known him since forever and thus he completely and utterly fits into our lives and in the same vein we fit into his. He was at varsity with my uncles – all of them friends from many, many years ago when they were all still teenagers. And he was my Dad’s very best friend. He was often around and we all knew him well.
Amber grew up knowing the story of Oupa Frank and that he had died. All of my kids have. I’ve made a point of ensuring that my kids know him. I often tell them about him and he comes up in conversation fairly regularly. Even as babies, they could identify photos of him.
And then one day, when Amber was a bit older, she asked me again about Daya and Oupa Frank.
I went into the whole long explanation again, about Oupa Frank getting sick and sadly dying. How Mom and Daya love each other very much and they got married. How Mom became Katarina’s stepmom and how Daya became my stepdad. How Katarina still has a real mom too and how Daya was not my daddy when I was a little girl, etc., etc., etc.
And after delicately and patiently explaining all of this to Amber in great detail, she looked me straight in the eye and said “So Daya is your fake Daddy?”.
And all I could say to that was “yip, he sure is”. Truth be told, I was tapped out and couldn’t face going into the whole long explanation again, with great depth this time. The fact of the matter though, is that she got the essence of the story all right, just not the correct terminology. Which is actually pretty okay, all things considered.
I love Daya, I really do. I love him for loving my Mom and making her happy. I love him for loving our whole big, large and very extended family. I love him for always opening his home to all of us, continually. We have an open invitation, anytime we so wish. I love the time he takes with my kids and the continual interest he shows in them.
He came into our lives, rather “lightly” if you wish. Just him and his person, my bonus sister Katarina. And in return he got Maggie and her people. And that’s a whole lot. He got Lombards, Loubsers, Bertolani’s and Aulds.
Most people have the fortune/misfortune (it depends on your perspective and the luck of the draw) of acquiring only one Mother-In-Law when they get married. But not our Daya. He is the only person I know who can boast with the following: He has a Mother-In-Law, my Ouma Helene. He has an ex Mother-In-Law, his ex-wife’s Mom. And the cherry on the cake? He has a step Mother-In-Law, my Ouma Cathy – my Dad’s mom.
My fake Daddy sure got himself a whole bunch of fake Momma’s.
Which, I suppose in a bizarre way, makes him my “Pa from another Ma”.
Fake Daddy and Real Daddy were best friends - here they're hamming it up for the camera
Fake Daddy and Real Daddy some more
The day Fake Daddy became Fake Daddy. Pic taken at Mom and Fake Daddy's wedding - they sommer did Department of Home Affairs.
Aaahhh! Sweet! Fake Daddy and Mom having a cuddle.
Fake Daddy makes an awesome grandfather. Here he's about to embark on a walk with the Cloete kids - a few years ago when they were still way smaller and younger.
Fake Daddy and his person (our special Katarina) with Maggie and some of her people
For the relatively small investment of one child, Daya got a huge return when he married a Lombard. Now he has more relatives than he could ever imagine.