Monday, February 26, 2007

Parents Are More Than Blood Relatives


After the "characters" involved read this post today they would like some changes made to their references. First, Ed would like to be known as "Uncle Ed" and Donna as "Big Sister." So be it, I'm obliged to help them anyway I can!

One definition of Parent is: “something from which one or more similar and separate things have developed, or to which they are attached.”

The relationship between a parent and child is one of natures purest. We’re more “related” to our children than we are to our spouses. But, this doesn’t mean we have to be related by blood to experience this special bond.

All of my “blood” parents live very far away and enjoy a well deserved retirement in “paradise.” My mother, stepfather, and dad all live on Florida’s west coast. They enjoy a lower cost of living and don’t have to suffer the northern winters. I don’t get to see them often, but, I do understand their need to be there.

Parents are more than biological ancestors; they are people who care for children, whether their own or others and it doesn’t matter how old those children are.

Fortunately, I have some local “parents” that fill the void...

My neighbor, Ed, is one of my best friends, but more than that, he takes care of me and my family, like a father… because he is a father.

He considers my children his grandchildren.

He and his “better-half,” Linda, come to their birthday parties bearing generous gifts and genuine well wishes.

On Halloween, they always have a big candy bar for the boy… at Christmas time, there’s always a present or two at Ed & Linda’s house.

In the dead of winter, he continually calls me, just to check on us.

They’re always there to run to the store at a moments notice, or flip us the keys to their car when needed.

Ed takes me fishing in the summer; we spend afternoons away from everything, just experiencing nature. Whether or not we catch anything, we always have a good time. We get to clear our heads of all our mundane daily tasks. We’re just friends enjoying a moment on the ocean; a “father” and “son” spending time alone, as men.

He helps me with my lawn and leaf clean-up, and uses his “monster” snow blower to clear my driveway when the snow falls.

In return, we treat him like our father.

I’m always there to help him with any “project” he has gotten himself into and, my wife always includes them in her cooking binges.

The Helper needs to have his “Eddie and ‘Winda’” fix, too. “Let’s go see Eddie!” “I wonder what Eddie’s doin’?” “Here comes Ed, Dad!” “Where’s ‘Winda’s’ car?” “Did ‘Winda” go to work?”

They have a very special bond.

We’re included in all their “events” and they in ours. Even if we’re planning a small family gathering, there’s never a question about including Ed and Linda… they’re our family.

We have another “friend/parent,” Donna. She lives alone in a big beautiful house (I’ve done most of the work on it.) Donna never had any of her “own” children. But, she has a son, a daughter, and grandchildren.

She has framed pictures of the Helper… her grandson.

And like Ed and Linda, she’s always included in our intimate events.

Like any “natural” parent she cares for her children when they’re hurt…

When I blew my knee out, a few summers ago, Donna was at the hospital within twenty minutes of the ambulance delivering me. She stayed the entire time, making sure I was properly cared for by the staff. She is the Assistant Director of Nursing at Long Island’s largest hospital.

From the time the Baby was conceived we knew he’d be born at Donna’s hospital.

In fact, we insisted!

With all the problems my wife had with the Helper, at another facility, we didn’t want to take any chances.

Our “mother” Donna (she’ll hate that, as it infers a slight clue to her age), was the one I picked up at the airport a few months back. At the end of this week she’ll be off again, this time to Las Vegas for a poker tourney. We’ve agreed to only carry on bags this time!

I will again be charged with the care of her furry friends, as well as, looking after the house.

We’ll miss her, but wish her “luck” on her adventure. She’ll need it!

It’ll be another late night pick-up at New York’s LaGuardia airport on Sunday… wish us luck!

Donna cares for us like her own, and we for her. It’s what children do.

My family is blessed to have these people in our lives. They’re more than friends they’re our family. An old saying says, “You don’t get to choose your family.” I don’t think this is entirely accurate…

While we may not get to choose who we’re related to by “blood,” we can develop relationships that are as strong, if not stronger, than natural family bonds.


Mike said...

We have great neighbors, too.

The ones that live next door to us are OK, but the guys on the far end of the street, now THEY are REAL neighbors.

Midnight ER run? Call 'em?

No pants that fit the boy? Call 'em.

Someone to eat all the garden veggies that I love to grow. Call 'em up.

Extra cookies in the oven? OK, that never happens...

Yeah! for good neighbors.

Anonymous said...

What a sweet post!

Neighbors can make or break your neighborhood...We have mostly great ones too...

What a wonderful post.

DraMa said...

What a great post!! Parents take on all shapes and sizes and forms. It was so cool to read about your "psuedo family" like this. You are very lucky indeed!

Donna said...

Thanks for the status change.

Since my brother in Lithuania is also an architect/builder you're my American "baby brother" and yeah, OK, I admit it, big sister sounds younger. The "Helper" and the "Baby" can still be my grandkids. Love you all no matter what I call you!

Terri said...

This is a great post; its so important to have people like this in our lives and what a wonderful way to acknowledge them!

Angel said...

We have an Italian couple on one side (he's a contractor and has a colonade in the back and throws huge parties with foreign languages running supreme.)

On the other side a married mixed race couple with no kids, pug dogs but no kids.

Excellent post and totally great for you and your family!

I'm the one handing out baked goods at holidays and have no problems running a kid here or there if asked but our neighborhood keeps to themselves darn it!

I have a couple pseudo parents. One is my parents neighbor named Marge. I would cross the street when my mom turned her back for two seconds (and they don't live across the street) and ask her for saltines (since my mean mommy would never buy me them.) At my bridal shower she gave me a box of saltines and I cried. She was just at my little sister's wedding and came to our beach house. She and her husband joined us in playing couples pool and we had each other laughing so hard I should have worn depends.

The other one is hubby's best friend's mom (she'd make a fantabulous MIL.) She's come to parties for my kids until her husband took ill. They would have come to most of my son's sporting events (she said and I believe) if they didn't live an hour and a half north of us. (*sigh*)

As always your posts have me thinking about my life and those in it. I enjoy learning about you and the thought provoking posts!!! Awsome post LID.

Angel said...

crapping long post.

Angel said...

I MEANT crapin long comment. Don't have two glasses of wine and comment. sheesh. sorry.

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