When I was a little girl I didn’t want my dad to really “date” anyone. For no other reason than I didn’t want to share his attention. My brother and sister are 9 and 10 years older than me so my dad and I spent a lot of time together just us. He would sing “Me and my shadow” because I followed him everywhere (guess Julian is my payback!). Trust me my dad dated in his day, he was a stud and a major flirt so ladies love him. So it is not like we didn’t see a few ladies come and go, but the fact is no one could put up with him. I remember one girlfriend trying to win my heart said: “Wouldn’t’ it be great if your dad and I got married”, “NO I like things just the way they are”, was my reply and I did. You have to understand that my dad lost his wife tragically at 35 when his family was just starting out. He was all of a sudden without his love and with 3 young kids, so he comes with some serious baggage. Plus there is us kids to have to contend with, we are not the easiest bunch!
I was pregnant with Sam (almost 11 years ago) and my dad met someone. He wanted me to stop by the park to see her and give my opinion. Really, while I am hormonal, man was he brave. So, Tom, Ben and I went down and met Deb very casually. HMMMMMMM she is YOUNG, but nice I guess. Little by little Deb would make an appearance at different family gathers, seeming to be nervous I am sure my brother didn’t help, he can be intimidating. I thought she was OK at the time but would she last that was the real test. My sister well let’s just say it was hard, she remembers my mom and dad together but she wasn’t opposed to the idea of them either. Over the years we got to know this caring, kind, loving woman. Deb actually loves my dad, like really loves him! She understands that my dad will never stop loving my mother and she is respectful of that. She understands that he has a HUGE heart and there is room for her in there. She gets that we are a family and there is nothing stronger. I actually think she needs us too which makes us take her in even more. Deb will bend over backwards and do anything for us and it all comes from her heart. When I was diagnosed she said she wished it was her and knowing Deb I know she meant that, I wished it was no one. I love the fact we have been going to the Cape for the past 10 years, what memories we have made!
Last year, I encouraged my dad to put a ring on her finger; PHEW I was scared I was going to have to care for him. He was a nervous wreck, but that Christmas Day before church he gave her a little purse and inside was a ring. They came over to celebrate and popped champagne! Anthony made a comment that he thought Deb “took care of Pa” and while I found that hilarious after this past week I realize it to be true. I am so thankful for Deb, for her and my dad living together, for her love for him, her love for all of us really. I never knew my mother and I am certainly not looking to replace her, no one could do that. But having Deb in my life is the next best thing.
Tomorrow is Deb’s birthday, 50 and I hope it is a great year. Happy Birthday to our G-Deb! We love you and are so proud to have you part of this wacky family. You must really love us to stay in it after the year we have had!