Sometimes when you enter into an arrangement, whether it be personal or otherwise, you get more than you expected.
Hair was one of those things.
Hair is my now, 18 year old son. To clarify, Hair is my step-son, a part of the deal when I entered into a relationship with the Artist Formerly Known As My Wife. At the time he was ten, a troubled and difficult age for any kid, made worse by the fact that his, somewhat less than stellar biological father was very much on the scene and making Hair’s life hell.
Through the past 8-9 years we navigated that terrain, a lot of the time just he and I as his mum wrestled with the complexities of her life and past and we became, in my mind anyway, father and son. Not part of the deal, but someone I could not live without.
I never referred to him as my ‘step’ son as, well, it seemed ridiculous. You don’t choose how much you love something or someone, you just love them. I had no blinkers or restraints on my care for him, I treated him, thought of him and loved him like my son so, that was it.
Son, he was.
Someone once said, in relation to their inherited family that the only steps they knew of were the ones leading up to the front door. I always liked that and treated Hair accordingly. He was, for loss of a better term, my ‘non’ step son.
Oh, and why ‘Hair’ I’m sure you’re asking? It’s most definitely not his real name, but refers more to the breath taking MASS of curls which nest upon his scone, now matted and morphing into thick cables of god knows what beneath an ever-present headband of dubious sanitary condition.
Unfortunately, I don’t really see Hair anymore. After he left home in a rage of confusion and dubious decision-making, he cut me off for the most part.
I have never really understood what I did to deserve such exile.
Knowing him as i do, i know how much pain he carries around in his good heart toward his biological father which he refuses, or is unable to deal with. Unfortunately, i fear that confusion and burying of emotion has flowed on to all father figures, myself included, leaving me in a nether world not of my own making.
We still see each other occasionally, passing in the street or incidentally occupying the same space in town. He is stand-offish and awkward. I try to be less so. I always offer a hug which is tentatively taken, but is always taken regardless.
He is a good boy, or i should say, young man. I know his heart well enough to know how good it is.
But i am not his parent anymore, he has made that clear.
Yet i still worry like a parent and i still love like a parent, though i have no import in his life at the present.
Still, his decisions may be able to define me as a parent, but they can’t change my own heart.
Son, he is. Son, he shall always be. Whatever he decides.
The only steps I know of are still the ones leading to my front door and they will always be most welcoming if he should choose to use them.