When I first learned that my mom had a new man in her life, I didn't want to know him. My dad had died only a couple of years prior, and I was angry that my mom was moving on so quickly. When I finally got over myself and got to know him, it wasn't long before I realized that if my dad could have hand-picked someone to step in for him as a husband, father, and grandfather, then Joe is the man he would have chosen.
I knew almost immediately that this man, with his laid-back, down-for-anything demeanor, was a perfect match for my highly sensitive mother. I knew that my mom was deeply unhappy for years, given the tumultuous nature of her 25-year-long marriage to my father. So, when I see her now, deliriously happy and in love, I smile because she deserves every bit of it. While there's no question that Joe is great for my mom, I never expected how great he was going to be for me.
While there's no question that Joe is great for my mom, I never expected how great he was going to be for me.
One of the things that scared me the most about accepting Joe into our family was the idea that by doing so, I'd somehow be betraying my dad. That fear was quickly assuaged, however, as he has found and maintained the perfect balance of being a father without overstepping or trying to take the place of the one that I lost. I am so incredibly grateful for the role he has effortlessly played, not only in our lives, but in my husband's as well.
My husband's father died young. So when my husband and I met in our early 20s, I'm not sure if he even knew how to change a tire, because he never had a role model to teach him. My dad was excited to show him the ins and outs of using power tools and keeping his lawn green, but never got the chance. Thanks to YouTube, my husband taught himself a thing or two and even renovated a bathroom, but Joe has been truly amazing at passing on knowledge on everything from how to change the oil in the car to properly manning a chainsaw and removing a dead tree from our front yard.
I don't think he has much experience in the way of small children, but he's doing a damn good job at this whole grandpa thing.
Perhaps the most important role that Joe has happily embraced is that of "Pop" to my children. Growing up, I had two grandfathers, who quite frankly didn't seem to like me all that much. But Joe was there to welcome all three of my children when they were born, even coming to the hospital to visit on his day off from work — without my mother. He's the one who talked my Disney-hating mom into joining us on our upcoming trip to celebrate our daughter's fifth birthday, and he's the first to get on the floor and play with my 1-year-old twins. I don't think he has much experience in the way of small children, but he's doing a damn good job at this whole grandpa thing.
There are times when I'm still amazed at how a man I didn't even want to meet has become one of the most important men in my life. I'm not sure that I tell him enough just how lucky we all are that my mom found him when she did, but I am sure to tell him that should he and my mom not stand the test of time, he's still stuck with the rest of us . . . whether he likes it or not.