When I got married, my grandfather walked me down the aisle. When I asked him to give me away, he couldn't understand why. He wondered why I didn't ask my mom or either of my uncles. "Because it's important to me that you do it." Later on, my grandmother told me that meant so much to him, that I loved him that much that I asked him to do that honor. My grandpa is the exact opposite of me in that he doesn't like being the center of attention for anything. He had so much trouble at the rehearsal remembering what to say when our preacher asks 'Who gives this woman to this man?' Loud and clear on our wedding day, so that everyone in the chapel heard him, he remembered 'Her family and I do.'
You might ask why my grandfather gave me away instead of my dad. Hmm - when you find him, you can ask him. You see, I was an 'oops.' My mom had just graduated high school and got pregnant with me. When she told the SD (sperm donor) about it, his last words to her were 'It's not mine.' My great-aunt (who helped deliver me) made the comment at the 'family meeting' my mom had called to let everyone know that she thought it best if she just gave the baby up for adoption. 'Over my dead body.' Even before I was born, my grandfather was defending me - my knight in shining armor. I lived with my grandparents until I was three, and because of some circumstances, they were actually trying to adopt me. My uncle was still in high school, so I already had a 'big brother.' I went to live with my mom and her new boyfriend.
When I was four, the boyfriend became her husband, my stepdad, and dad to my sister JR all in the same year. Until I was 12 (when they finally divorced), he was my father. If you grew up in an alcoholic and/or abusive household, I feel your pain. I know - I've been there. Surprisingly enough, I turned out to be a semi-well-adjusted, fully-functioning member of society. We'll leave that story for another time. However, I did not know he was not my dad until the summer I left my mom. That knowledge made me cry - that was good news that he wasn't my father.
When I was 14, my aunt married this really great guy who, in the span of four months got married, moved in with her, and acquired a 'daughter'. See, I went from a straight-A student to a C & D student. Divorce can do that to children. It didn't help that I became mom to JR and didn't have time to study and keep house and dinner and help with her homework. It scared the rest of my family. Grandparents, two uncles and an aunt decided that if they didn't do something, I might not have finished high school (and this all was the final result of one of the bravest things that my friend C ever did...and I will never quit thanking her). I moved in with my aunt and uncle. It was a mahoosive change, going from a household that didn't care what you did, whether or not you failed school, or who you were hanging out with (unless it interferred with her plans) to having a 'mom' and a 'dad' who worried about you, were always questioning about your day and school and boys and friends and sports. I panicked and rebelled. Things smoothed out. My grades skyrocketed (graduated with honors). I got into college. I hit rough patches (who hasn't), but even though I stumbled, I picked myself up and slogged on.
Even though the three men I write this for will most likely never see it, it is written for them. I had a father/daughter dance at my reception, split between those three very special guys.
None of them are my father, but they are all my Dads.
Remember to tell your dad, grandpas, and uncles "Happy Father's Day."
I feel blessed that I have three.