It’s been a week of male bonding.
Pam spent the week in New York with our new granddaughter Lana, who was born last Friday morning. This makes me a Pop Pop for the second time at the age of 45 and Pam far too young to be a two-time grandmother. Lana joins Zoe, 2, and her parents Steven and Trang at their beautiful home in Scarsdale, N.Y.
How are Pam and I grandparents? It’s a question we get often. Pam raised Steven in what I call her previous life – her first marriage began when Steven was just a toddler. She raised Steven with his father. Steven is now a doctor in New York City and his wife, Trang, a nuclear pharmacist. We are incredibly proud of them and their young family.
Pam is mom to three “boys” — Steven, 40, Beckett, 12, and Carson, 11. Her journey to motherhood is worthy of a book and maybe one day I will write it. Or maybe this column has documented her parenting journey as well as mine over the years well enough.
I believe God had a different plan for Pam when it came to motherhood and me becoming a dad. None of Pam’s three boys are her biological sons, as Steven is technically her stepson (though she understandably so does not view him that way) and Beckett and Carson were each adopted at birth by us.
Just as she doesn’t refer to Steven as her stepson, we don’t think of Beckett and Carson as our adopted sons. They are our boys and we are raising them as our own. It’s how she raised Steven as well.
Because Steven is such a wonderful, caring and devoted husband and father and overall a tremendous success in life, I often bow to Pam’s parenting discretion. I figure if she helped raise Steven, an excellent role model for my boys, she probably knows more about this parenting stuff than I do.
Pam was unable to have kids the natural way. It was not meant to be, and we have a huge binder full of checks, credit card bills, invitro appointments and instructions, invoices and tests to prove we exhausted all options before deciding adoption was for us. The binder is in my office and I never peruse it. I suppose one day I might revisit the memories it holds. I remember all the trials and tribulations well enough though now.
Rather than harp on the unfairness aspects – which certainly dominated our thoughts during our invitro struggles – I think it’s healthier to look at the journey spiritually. The fact she did not give birth to either of her three kids has nothing to do with the love she has for each of them, the bonds they have and her commitment and passion to each of them. Families are built in different ways and no two are the same.
In fact, by virtue of our family tree, Beckett and Carson are uncles to little Zoe and newborn Lana. Hearing Zoe say she wants to swim with Uncle Carson and play ball with Uncle Beckett will warm any heart. It makes me laugh because I giggle each time I think of these boys being uncles at 12 and 11 years old, respectively.
One night this week I enjoyed overhearing Beckett talk about his weekend plans. He said he couldn’t do this or that because we were going to New York to visit his nieces. I then listened as he explained the unique family dynamics to his friends on facetime. He explained it maturely. I could only hear so much as I eavesdropped from the other room, but I swelled with pride when I heard him say, “I know I am lucky.” Later that night I gave him a random hug and referenced the earlier call I overheard. He gave me a little lean in (more akin to a shoulder shrug) before accusing me of being a stalker for eavesdropping on his private conversations. He has a way of keeping things balanced.
I’d say there’s been some male bonding around the house with Pam away, but it’s basically been the same dynamics. It’s weird without her around and I’m sure things have fallen through the cracks around the house, but all has been smooth for the most part. We missed her but the place didn’t fall apart in her absence. I think she was needed more in New York to help the young family get acclimated to their new life.
The night before she was to leave town Pam reminded me Beckett was going to church with a female friend and her family the next morning. She shared it so nonchalantly I thought she was joking.
She said something along the lines of, “Beckett wants to go to church in the morning.” She then filled me in he was invited by the friend (not a girlfriend supposedly) to join her and her family at church. He would have to be ready to leave by 8 in the morning on a Sunday. Considering getting up each morning for school is a chore for him and he loves sleeping in I was shocked.
Additionally, whenever we broach the subject of going to our church on Sunday morning the kids fight us. They argue they want to have a lazy morning since we are always rushing during the school week. I guess the right person was not asking. It was interesting he woke up without a lot of hassling on Sunday to go to church but on Monday morning it took him a half hour to get out of bed and I found him sitting in the shower asleep a few minutes later.