Not an orphan


Not long after my mother died nearly 5 years ago, the oddest thought popped into my head: Oh, my, I'm an orphan now.

What makes it odd is that I'm not an orphan. Well, not exactly. Because I have an "other" mother and a "father-no-papers." Their names are Kay and Ron. And I adore them.

Kay was the last wife my Daddy ever had. I wasn't thrilled when he remarried (I was in college at the time) and I was sure I'd behaved downright rudely to Kay, but she swears I never did. I still think I was brat, but Kay sees the good in people and lets the rest go. It's one of the many many things I love about her.

Several summesr ago, Kay and Ron came up to Minnesota to soak up  some North Shore (of Lake Superior) goodness. Among the many wonderful things that happened during that short visit, one that sticks with me is that I realized I adored Ron and really wanted him "adopt" me. So I asked him. And he took my request "under consideration." On the last day of their visit, Ron told me that he had decided to say yes to my request. So he's officially (no papers, though) my "other" father.

That's how I came to have a "stepmother" and "stepfather" who are married to each other. On June 1, they'll celebrate 20 years of marriage. Theirs is a relationship I watch carefully. It's hard to take my eyes off them, they're so beautiful.

Kay is probably more like me than anyone else in my family. She jumps at the chance to go on an adventure, likes big dogs, prefers clothes from outfitters like REI to dress-up attire, wears Keens, is attracted to ethnic jewelry, has a fierce streak of independence, and is an outdoor girl (she even came up to Minnesota from Austin, TX, to go kayaking with me). I also love her Georgia accent, something I wish I had.

And Ron, well, it's just hard to put into words the kind of man he is. Awesome comes to mind. Loving, smart, compassionate, witty, present, respectful, generous, kind-hearted, principled, honest, and courageous are a few others.

He's had a run of of bad luck on the health front of late. And right now he's in the hospital, beating back some pretty serious stuff. I want him out of that place in the worst possible way. I want him home, stirring his compost pile, experimenting in his garden, doing biostatistics, going to marshall arts class with Kay, eating breakfast tacos at his favorite Mexican restaurants, building schools and clinics in Mexico, watching birds from his big bed first thing in the morning, eating yummy chocolate ice cream, and pretending he's retired. I wish it were up to me. But these things happen in God's time, not mine.

So for now, I'm going to look at some pictures of Kay and Ron and their garden and beam some love and healing thoughts their way. Please feel free to join me.

Backyard serenity

Native plants in the front yard (wish I could remember the name!)

Grasses, a perennial favorite of mine

"Flourishing flora"

Kay and the fountain she built (check out the Keens!)

My hero, my father-no-papers

Blessings on you Kay and Ron!


Derrick said…
Hi Kathleen,

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to your 'Stepfather'. The grasses pic is great and I would swear that the pink tufted unknown is a French lavender!
Finding Pam said…
That was a wonderful post about Kay and Ron. I pray that he beats this illness and is back to feeling better. They are both adorable. The photos are great.

How is Gins? I haven't seen any photos of him lately?

Have a Happy Memorial Day weekend.
How is it that after all these years you never cease to amaze me with your kind and loving heart?
ellen abbott said…
How wonderful Kathleen. You are so lucky. When my mother passed away I also became an orphan and remember that very thought crossing my mind. I am not so lucky though and do not have anyone one to step in those roles.

I hope he recovers soon and is home where he belongs.
Barb said…
Good healing thoughts for Ron! What a great tribute you've written for them - I'd adopt you, too! PS I really liked the garden photos.
Barb said…
Good healing thoughts for Ron! What a great tribute you've written for them - I'd adopt you, too! PS I really liked the garden photos.
Janie said…
I'm sending healing thoughts their way, too. They sound like a wonderful couple.
Many prayers for strength and comfort to you and yours.
Uncle KT said…
Thank you for sharing the story of how you came to love Kay and Ron so much. I hope that they both read your blog! Some family is biological and some are the people that happen to take up residence in your heart over the years. I hope that all of the members of your family find peace--and understand how much you love them.
becky said…
Kathleen~ what a great history of your "step- parents," they look & sound like lovely people! Hoping that Ron is feeling better soon... looks like he has the spirit to fight off those health issues, too!
Hilary said…
I had that same thought when my mother passed away 18 years ago. We're always our parents' children. I'm sorry to hear that your f-n-p is struggling with health issues. Count on me to send best healing thoughts his way. He and your step-mom sound like wonderful people. How lucky you all are to have each other.
Suldog said…
You bet I'll join you. Prayer just said!
jinksy said…
Lovely photos and stories about a bunch of clearly wonderful people - you included!

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