Just pour me a drink and I'll tell you some lies.
My step father came into my life when I was a tween.. not the easiest of times... I was away at boarding school and my mum introduced him to me on an outing to Stratford one Sunday afternoon... he was tall and lingering and American... that was his worse sin.
I was a nightmare... I behaved incredibly badly...I barely talked to him and would snarl and roll my eyes when he was around, and g*d forbid he talked…he couldn't win.. and I couldn’t understand why she needed him at all? Wasn’t I enough?
He moved into our house in London, with all his mid-life crisis artifacts that he had picked up on a pilgrimage to find himself after his marriage fell apart…Amongst our very English antiques were Turkish hookah pipes, brass cow bells and various assorted tapestries and rugs... as far as I was concerned it was all awful….As if it couldn't possibly get any worse, his kids would show up for the summers... in their preppy Izods, white tube socks, and Billy Joel cassettes that they insisted on playing every time we went anywhere jammed like sardines in the back of the car... and take over my life.
After about 10 years, it dawned on me one day that he was not going away (despite my best efforts)... so I thought I’d finally take to heart all the pep talks mum had given me over the years and give him a chance... I mean at this point he deserved a gold medal for hanging in there with such a badly behaved step-daughter.
So I did... and I got to know him… and he was lovely… and kind... and patient… by my mid-twenties, I thought it was time to apologize... so I did… He was very gracious as always... He hadn’t changed... I had…By my thirties, he had given a toast at my wedding and became PoppaDon for his grandkids... and more importantly along the way he became my friend and my confidente.
In the last few years, he has been diagnosed with Alzheimers... and while it is progressing slowly, it is progressing.
For now he is still pretty much himself... shoe laces, clocks and cars don’t work anymore... but other than that, he is the same sweet man he always was.
Last summer we celebrated his 80th with very close family… he gave a speech with the help of my ever present mum… it was beautiful and poignant and special.
I wish I could take back those first few years I wasted being such a dreadful snot, especially as time is now slipping away.
I really do appreciate him and love him dearly... I just wished I had figured that out sooner... Thankfully he has always loved me unconditionally and I know deep down he knows how I feel. Oxo