Thursday, May 11, 2006
My Wicked Stepmother
When I say "wicked" I mean it in the Bostonian vernacular way-which means awesome!
There is a song that used to be on one of the records my parents had. I used to listen to it all the time, and the lyrics go like this:
yesterday my life was filled with rain.
You smiled at me and you relieved the pain.
Now the dark days are gone and the bright days are here,
my Sunny one shines so sincere,
Sunny one so true,
I love you.
My father could have written that song himself. He met Sunny when he moved back to Kalamazoo Michigan (where he had grown up), shortly after my mother died. She was walking a small dog.
I first became aware of the fact that my father was smitten when he came to visit us that first Christmas. I caught him staring at a photograph he had with him. It was of Sunny at her daughter's wedding. From the picture you could see that she was full of energy and life, and you could tell she liked to laugh. He was like a highschool girl sitting by the phone that Christmas morning waiting for her to call.
My father and Sunny had a whirlwind romance and were married that Summer. Initially, some in the family had difficulty with the swiftness of their union. I did not. I knew that my mother's passing had taught my father to grab joy when he could, and to live each day fully. Life is sweet, but life is short, and life is made even sweeter, and the days even longer, when you are able to spend them with someone you love.
Sunny has wrought amazing changes in my father. The man who used to tinker in solitude in the basement is now on committees, attends the theatre, hosts parties. The only travel I could have associated with my father in the past is the commute from Stamford to NYC; now together they have gone bike riding in Paris and Hawaii. He has seen the Grand Canyon. The man who lived the majority of his life with a series of cats, now owns a small dog that he treats like a child.
I am thankful that my father found Sunny to love and be loved by. I celebrate her this Mother's Day with the fullest of hearts, knowing how much she cares for my Dad. She injects his days with joy and energy and an appetite for life (although he now always splits his soup and sandwich combos.)