Bug asked me a simple question tonight. And taken at face value, if you weren't looking to dig deeper, it had a simple answer. Of course, my kid doesn't do simple. Never has. Probably never will. That's okay, because apparently I don't do simple, either.
Bug asked me what nationalities we were made up of. (Well, actually, what he asked was a bit less grown up sounding, and took some additional questions from me to finally figure out what he meant, but it turned out that was what he meant.) Simple question. The simple answer was that I was Irish, German and Cherokee Indian; while dad was Indian, Hispanic and something Nordic. So he starts asking which grandparent contributed which nationality. This was where it got.... well, less simple.
My parents divorced when I was younger, and my mom remarried when I was eight. He's an amazingly awesome man, as I've mentioned here before. He is also the only grandfather, on my side, that my boys have ever known. See, my biological father disowned me right before I got married. It's a somewhat long and involved story, so suffice it to say that he's just a very selfish and spoiled man who reacted the way he did because something was not going to go the way he wanted it to. I'm positive that if he had any idea at all of how my life would have gone on to play out, he probably still would have done the same thing. And honestly? I've come to terms with the fact that he has never met the amazing son-in-law that he has, and has never gotten to experience the joys and wonders that would have come along with being a grandparent to my incredible boys. And that? Is completely his loss, and not mine. My boys know that my dad isn't their biological grandfather, and that there is another man out there that we have to consider when discussing medical history with the doctor. They also know that he CHOSE to walk out of my life, and not even attempt to walk into theirs. They have NEVER blamed that choice on me. In fact, they have often told me that they think he's totally missing out on a great family by ignoring ours.
Anyway, Bug asked how much of the Indian in me came from Grandpa. And then he interrupted himself to remind me that Oh yeah.... he's not the guy you'd get anything from. Its that OTHER guy who doesn't like you.
I pointed out that I didn't think it was that he didn't like me. After all, I was only 19 when he decided to stop talking to me. I told Bug that I think its just that he's so caught up in his own world that there's just not room enough in it for me; and reminded him that the grandpa he knows is a pretty awesome guy who definitely has had time for me. Bug looked at me, perplexed. You were only 19, Mom? But that's been..... like, YEARS.
I know, I replied. And then told him we'd talk about it more when it wasn't bedtime and he wasn't trying to avoid sleep.
The thing is, I think I was actually telling Bug the truth. It's not that my biological father doesn't like me. He doesn't even know me. He chose not to be an active father while I was growing up; and he chose again to simply walk away from me when it looked like I had. And that, as selfish a reason as he had for making that choice, was one of the best choices he could have made. In making that choice, he cleared the path for my sons to have a phenomenal grandfather. And it made me a stronger person, which makes me a stronger mother.
Choices. Everything comes down to the choices you make in life. And those choices don't just affect YOUR life, they affect the lives of everyone in your life. His choice helped to give my sons the mother they have today. His choice helped me to choose to stay with their father when I could have chosen to walk away. His choice will help teach my children the importance of making the right choices in their own lives, because every choice can affect people you don't even know yet.
Not a bad lesson to learn.