Ed. Ed married my mom when I was…, eleven or twelve ish. Don’t hold me to that. Its foggy back that far. I was a latch key kid when it happened. Pretty much a wild child - roaming as I pleased in the neighborhood. I am not sure what level of comprehension I had, at the time, of what he marring my mom meant. They were getting married. Ok. Cool. Whatever. Ed, as with most step parents (I assume), did not gain respect or authority, as he might have hoped, ala signing a marriage license. The poor dude was subject to hell with respects to obedience from me.
Ed came with eight other kids. Most of which were grown and never to play a part in my life. Three of them did. (Should I make false names here to protect the innocent?) Ok. You know who you are. My new step siblings where…, hum…, it is so hard to put that in words. One of them became a friend and a great companion, competitor, and accomplice. One was a younger kid that always got stuck in my mind as little, and one was sort of in and out of the picture and seemed to be a source of concern and painful stress.
Ed. Ed was my mom’s new husband. He never really became my dad. Though, he did the things a dad is supposed to do. Mom and Ed were the parents a person is supposed to have. They were there for me when I needed parents. They were the ones I went home to in college. They had the washing machine and dryer, they made meals at holidays, threw birthday parties, helped with college and co-signed loans. Ed became the father figure by virtue of being the one that was willing to be in that role. Ed was of the ilk that a dad did what was necessary to deal with the needs the kids had; whether the kids thought of him as dad or not.Ed. My mom is passed now. Ed remains. Not in good health. Not in ideal circumstances. He gets visits from us once a week. We bring him a yogurt drink, or an all fruit smoothie from Quick trip. He seems to enjoy that. I don’t know if Ed knows who I am or not now. He sort of does, but I don’t think that lasts very long. I don’t know if I love Ed. He is my step dad - my mom married him, I didn’t. I don’t know if my love is big enough to hold Ed close to my heart…, close enough to be able to hurt for him. If not, that is more about me than him. But I know I respect him. I respect him as a dad. As a guy that took on the responsibility of dad. To be there for the kids. To do what needed to be done for the kids…, at the expense of what needed to be done for Ed. That I do respect. And I guess I love him for that….. Ed is an amazing man with an amazing life. He shaped me in ways I will not fully comprehend. So, today, I tip my hat (metaphorically) to a good and faithful dad. You be well Edward Atkinson. Be well.