Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Birdsong in my heart!

By The Erudite Redneck

One of my biggest regrets is that while I'm a stepdad, I am not a biological father. That might be because I couldn't handle the inevitable separation.

Bird and her Yankee Beau -- and their canine family, Apollo the greater and Fenway the lesser -- are coming on Saturday. I miss my Bird so much I can't stand it if I think about it very much, or for very long, so I don't.

It occurred to me this morning that there is a grocery sack in my heart filled with Bird stuff!

Let me explain. In the top of my closet in my office at home is a grocery sack filled with a coffee cup that says "World's Greatest Dad," one of my dad's old straw hats and a few other items that have remained in that sack untouched except for one time since he died in March 1989. I think I took the items from the bag in March 1999, then put them back, where they have remained since.

Last November 25, everything changed between Bird and me and her mama, when Baby Bird finally and forever, and clumsily, of course, chucked her Babyhood and declared her independence.

It has resolved itself, to be sure, but things are different, and apparently they will be different from now on. It still hurts. So I leave certain Bird feelings in a grocery sack-shaped hole in my heart.

It also occurred to this morning that those of you who are biological parents can know, in a way that I cannot, the kind of love that God has for us. I can guess at it -- but it's just a guess. My love for Bird is just as real, but is different.

Some people might believe that my situation actually more accurately reflects the relationship between the Creator and we creatures who are reconciled with Him by our feeble attempts to follow Jesus. Some see the reconciliation of salvation as a kind of adoption, because of a heavy emphasis on "separation" because of "original sin."

There's nothing wrong with that kind of thinking, although I don't quite see things that way. Nowadays, the foundation of my relationship with God is His immutable love for me -- not *my* decision to accept His grace, or anything else I've done.

His love for me, and my relationship with Him, are as unalterable as the biological relationship between a father and a child or a mother and a child. Because I do not have such a relationship with anyone, that's one more thing I have to accept by faith.

It's not too hard, though. Because the love I have for my Bird -- my hopes and fears and concerns and impatience, the sense of loss I feel with her gone, the joy I feel at something as simple as a text message or forwarded e-mail, let alone a full message from her to me (rare, since she, not unreasonably, calls her mama first) -- the love I have for my Bird makes me laugh, and cry, and yell, and pout, and makes me HUMAN in a way that no other relationship with any other person on earth does.

That makes me think that when we stoke our relationships with God, it makes him GOD in a way that nothing else can -- and that sounds like part of a Psalm, or mabye like a word from one of the prophets. The idea sure didn't originate with me.

I only imagine what it would be like if Bird were flesh of my flesh. What I imagine is it would cripple my heart to see a baby Bird of my own flesh declare her independence.

And as soft as my bleeding heart is already, I don't think I could stand it.


Oh my, that is the best post I have
seen here. I am not very polical.
So your Bird stories are my favorite.
I do know what you mean about a
bleeding heart. My little deer boy
was held back in 4th grade this yr.
My little princess is now almost up
to my chin. I have stopped stressing about the house. These
years are way to precious.
Yes it does give us more of an
ideal of how God see's us. I
remember telling deer boy, there
was nothing he could do that would
stop me from loving him. I may be
unhappy with a decision, but I
would always love him.
I think that is the way God looks
down on us. He may not like some
of the things we do or he my shout
with delight at something done
well. But he will always love us.
Consider your self blessed that
God felt you worthy to be Bird's
Nah, ER, I don't think it's any different for a biological parent, a step parent or an adoptive parent. In fact, I think the ability to love someone who is NOT biologically related to you is perhaps the greatest wellspring of love of all.

My oldest daughter is on the verge of going off to college (I have one more year). I know the day that happens that things willhave changed forever. It will change the entire dynamic with my youngest daughter, since it will be just the two of us around the house. It will certainly be change my relationship with the older one. And then, in just four short years, the younger one will leave too. Oh, I am sure they will come "home" for the summer or during school breaks, but the family unit will have chnaged irrevocably.

You know what, I think I am okay with that. I had my time being that age and have some fun and learn some good lessons I did. This is their their time now, and they have to be totally free to experience that without my "filter". What an adventure life is when you're 18 and have the world by the ass!
I've been serving the roll of stepfather-to-be for some months now. She's 4 years old, a doll, a pistol, a joy, a pain in the ass ... as most 4-year-olds tend to be. Her mother is the love of my life, and my love for the little one is growing each day.

In less than a month, I'll be her full-fledged stepdad. But I don't think that'll change what I feel in my heart. I hope she'll just be the oldest of OUR children, and I hope that she won't always see me as the step. I hope that we will have that type of relationship.

Sometimes I expect a little much of her, given that she's 4. But I've been all alone for much of my adult life, and this is an adjustment. Take today, for example. Little Miss didn't get a nap at preschool today and just arrived home with that, "Don't mess with me at all" attitude.

I told the love of my life months ago that I will make mistakes with Laney. I will do the wrong things. I will expect a lot of her. But I will do all that with the right intentions and with love in my heart.

I guess that's all we can ask for, isn't it?

I'm a producer for a public radio show, Open Source, We'd like permission to read from your blog on our show tomorrow. Please email me and I can further explain.

I'll tell you if it's easier in about fifteen years ;)

But in the meantime, you sound like a good dad to me. enjoy Bird's visit.
Thanks, all. :-)
Dang all you soft-hearted galoots! Mushy as all get-out, aren't you?

Here's wishing the guys a happy father's day, whether by birth of blood or simply of the heart. It's wonderful to see such sweet love.

I think all of us who don't have children of our own really do know what it is we're missing, whether we own up to it or not. One of the best memories I have is when a girl at church that I'd mentored sent me a mother's day card.
ER are you just fishin for a big Father's Day present? You know Bird will read this and get all musheid up and feel like she needs to show you how much she loves you. What you holden out for Dad?

It don't matter none whether it's blood or not. What matters is what's in the heart. And don't worry none about her not hanging around as much as she did. Take it from a man of experience the third or forth time she moves back in with you and the Doc for a "little while", you'll wish she'd staid gone no matter how much you love her.
Now just wait a minute... who told you that love is different if you have shared genes? I am also not a biological parent, but nevertheless I am MAMA to these two kids, and NO WAY could I love them any stronger if I'd chucked them out of my.. ya know. What makes you a parent is the everyday contact, the responsibility, and the love you pour into your kids. I know many women who have both bio and adoptd kids, and they all say the love is the same intensity.

Its the heighth of hubris to believe that this child is more valuable than that child because he carries your genes. A child is valuable to you because that child is yours, whether blood relation or not. I bet you are wonderful daddy, ER. Happy Father's Day.
Miss C., I just saw the picture of yer kiddos on your blog. They are bee-yoo-tee-ful! Note I never said "more valuable." I said "different."

Drlobo, Bird doesn't read this thing. This week,m in fact, she is in the throes of a two-page (lol) paper for one of her summer classes. The paper is a kind of assessment of ... Brokeback Mountain!

Trixie, some of the most cherished mementos I have are from my days as an ag editor. At the end of a multicounty cattle show that brought in kids from both Texas and Oklahoma, the paper would send 8-by-10 pix of the kids with their bovines, their buyers if steers, and their premium donors if heifers. I write 'em a little congratulatory note. I'd almost always get thank-you notes back: "Dear Mr. (Redneck), thank you for the picture of my heifer ... " :-)
BTW, I went to the radio site mentioned by commenter Cheslsea Merz above. They are doing a show about what was being said in the blogosphere on Tuesday June 5, if I read it right.

What was the hot topic of the day at ER's site? The war(s)? Politics? Nominees for additions to the Christian Canon? What Christianity should do with homosexuals? No!

Barbecue! "Air ribs! Meat from heaven!"

As I say, some days are more erudite, some days are more redneck!
Zounds! Something good has already come from this Yankee drifter who drifted in here yesterday, Chelsea Merz! I've gone and done it now! Downloaded iTunes, so I could get a podcast of this show! That'll put a little high-tech in my redneck!
Well written, ER. Straight from and to the heart of the matter.
Thanks, Tech!
I echo the comments that love has little to do with biology. As a dad of one bio and one adoptive kids, two opposites if there ever where, love is strong for both.
Just to clarify my comment, for people who don't know me. When I said "kids of our own," I didn't mean bio kids only. I meant not having any kids as a part of a family, whether they be bio, step, foster or adopted (or any other variation.) I would have loved being a mom in any way, but it didn't happen.
Hi, ER. I didn't meanto imply that you thought non-bio kids were less valued, it just came out that way. I was responding to your "regret" at not having bio kids. Let go of the regret! Remember, 100 years from now, it won't matter how much money you had or what kind of car you drove, but the world may be better because you were important in the life of a child.
:-) Thanks, Miss C.
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