My oldest (ex)stepson came home from Afghanistan today. He’s out of the army, and he asked me if I could pick him up from the airport, and if he could stay with me for a while. He and I have never been what you’d call close, but for some reason, he decided to check with me, rather than asking his mother.
It’s an interesting place, especially when there are still younger kids in the house, to sit and have a beer and compare military service with someone who was, at one time, your kid. He’s so much more of an adult than when he left. He’s looking at buying a house, going back to college, taking advantage of the benefits his military service offers. He’s playing computer games with his younger siblings. He’s more like a friend than I had ever expected, and he’s here, which is shocking to me. No one has mentioned “mom”, not him, not the younger kids. They’ve just been enjoying each other’s company.
In addition, his younger brother called this morning to tell me that when his mom, boyfriend, and the kids head out to visit him, he’s not willing to let the boyfriend stay at his house. There’s a history there, new boyfriend is kind of a recycled old boyfriend, and while the kids were young, they have memories, maybe not accurate ones, but ones they believe, that aren’t the best. He was calling to tell me that it didn’t have anything to do with me, and that I shouldn’t worry about that, he’d make it clear to his mom.
Needless to say, it’s been a strange day. I’m not sure what to make of it. Mostly I feel sorry for their mom. Her son is home from the army, and she hasn’t seen him. Her other son disapproves of her choice in men. These are her adult children. While a part of me relishes it all, most of me just is sad at the whole situation. Part of me feels that the only thing necessary to make tonight perfect would be her here, and another part of me knows that the night wouldn’t have been so carefree if she was here. But, as they say, whoever they are, “it is what it is” and I intend to make the best of it.
Meanwhile, the newest (ex-step) grandchild is due today. We didn’t get a message, so it’s likely that she’s not here yet, but the newest member of this disjointed family is due anytime now. In addition, there’s a another kid, the son of the baby’s dad, who treats me just a grandpa. Kids are so generous with their affection. They’re not worried about how you’re related, or that you might not really be related at all, just that you’re someone that they can point affection toward, and they do.
What a strange life it’s turning out to be.