The photo with this blog is of my husband, Jonathon, and our daughter, Trinity. Sometimes I forget how very small she was when I divorced and was suddenly dating again. Jonathon was the only boyfriend I ever introduced her to, because he was the only one I was ever serious about. I think we married within a year of this picture. My second, his first, and he became a stepdad before he was ever a dad. He became Daddy-Jon because Trinity wanted a way to keep her two dads separate when she talked about them, so it was Daddy-Jon and Daddy-G. Trinity truly feels she has two fathers, and Jon felt that he had a great kid and there was no need for a second one, because biology doesn’t make you a dad. Being there daily makes you a dad. Jonathon watched the Barbie Nutcracker movie twelve times in a row when Trinity had the flu once. Only a parent does that for his sick kid. He taught her how to fence using boffer weapons so that she was so deadly in stage combat at drama camp that she had to bow out. “The other girl just kept dropping her guard, mom, I couldn’t help myself.” A dad is the person who comes limping in with the limping child after that infamous bicycle riding lesson. A dad is all that and so much more.
It is through watching first my ex, and then Jonathon, with Trinity that I began to understand what a father does because I never had one of my own. I was a fatherless child, and by age six I was a motherless one, too. My grandmother raised me without any men around the house, so I had no clue what a father, or a husband for that matter, was supposed to do. I always felt very left out on this holiday as a child. I think it was one of the reasons I worked hard to make sure my ex stayed invested in Trinity’s life, so that she had two dads where I’d had none. The three of us even went to parent-teacher conferences for Trinity. There was no fighting amongst us at school events, because my ex-husband and I both agreed that our daughter didn’t divorce anyone, that was us, so we vowed never to bad mouth each other in front of her and to act like civilized grownups at school functions or anything that involved our child. I am happy to say that with almost no exceptions we accomplished that. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it for our kid? Yes.
Trinity is twenty now, but she still has two dads for Father’s Day. I’ve now watched dear friends dance with their fathers at their weddings, and thanks to Genevieve and her father, I’m learning that even when you’re very grownup, a dad is still important to a daughter. Thanks to Jonathon and Spike I’m learning about sons and fathers, too. A dad is someone you can turn to for advice, someone you just want to keep involved in your life, because you love them.
People keep asking me why I haven’t shown my fictional character Anita Blake on stage with her dad, and the honest answer is because I didn’t know what a dad was for, or how a grown child interacts with one. I would take my character Jason back to visit his father in Blood Noir, but that father was dying of cancer and their relationship was strained at best, so it didn’t really force me to show a healthy father/child relationship. Then in Affliction we went back home with Micah and it was his father who was dying in the hospital of a mysterious disease. Micah loved his father, but the dad spent most of the book unconscious, so I didn’t have to deal with it on stage much. It would take me a year after I wrote Affliction and had fans complaining that I had another father in hospital like Jason’s father, before I both realized that it was similar and understood why I’d done it. The short answer is that I don’t know what a father is for, and I certainly don’t know what a healthy father/daughter relationship is supposed to be. I realize now that is why Anita’s family has never been on stage. I don’t know what a family is for like that, not a dad-mom-sibling kind of family, because I never had one of those. Maybe as Trinity gets older, I’ll understand it more. Maybe watching Jonathon, Spike, and Genevieve interact with their families as adults will help me understand what it’s supposed to be like to be a grown woman that still has a relationship with their family of birth – the family that raised them.