Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who's Your Daddy - Volume 1

We're actually going to be out of town for Father's Day - we decided to take a little mini-trip with the kids to the Wisconsin Dells. So I wanted to spend the next few days giving a little recognition to the various dads in my life.

I thought I'd start with Chris's dad, David. David unfortunately passed away several years ago and so never got to meet the kids in person. My comments, therefore, are mainly about David as a father-in-law and his involvement with Pacey from afar (both he and Pacey were too sick to travel the long distance between us during the time after Pacey's birth and before David's death).

It was really no secret that David was a little skeptical when I came on the scene. I think it's fair to say that all our parents were a little surprised by our relationship, but I had two particular strikes against me where David was concerned: American and Vegetarian. I don't think he was super anti-American or anything, but I imagine he, like all our parents, could see that if our relationship continued we would have to live far away from somebody and Chris made no secret of the fact he'd wanted to live outside England for quite some time.

Anyway, I like to think that David came around to me, especially when it became clear that Chris and I were serious and intended to stay together. He never did understand the vegetarianism and if I had to guess, I'd say one of his favorite moments with me was the lunch we had at a rural French restaurant that pretty much offered one option for the meal. Acknowledging that it was either eat what was offered or be really hungry, I gritted my teeth and ate as much as I could of a chicken leg/thigh (oh god, I don't even know exactly what it was but it had a big bone in it). Thank god drinking wine with lunch is acceptable in France!

Family dinner somewhere in France...I think perhaps we had
had a bottle or two by this point!
Because he and his wife had restored a farmhouse in northern France and turned it into a B&B, we had lots of opportunities to travel across the channel and hang out there, memories of which I will always be grateful for. David, his wife Debbie and Chris and I took a road trip to Normandy to visit the D-Day Landing beaches and some of the cemeteries and memorials; it was one of the most interesting and moving trips I have taken.

I will always be sad that David didn't get to meet our kids (or even know of Brighton's existence). He was supportive and immediately accepting of Pacey when we received his diagnosis and asked thoughtful questions. He chose really touching gifts for Pacey; for his second Christmas (just after Pacey turned one), he sent a stride-to-ride lion walker for toddlers learning to walk. I don't know why I appreciated that gift so much, other than he chose something age-appropriate that reflected his assumption that Pacey would walk and enjoy a toy just like other kids his age.

Obviously I can't speak for David as a father, but I do know that Chris attributes many of his good qualities to his father's example and support growing up. It'll be fun to hear Chris tell our kids about him when they're older - although I may have to provide some censorship :)

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