Boy: "Hi Dad! Happy Father's Day!"
SD: something unintelligible, I assume
Boy: "Who IS this? It's your son, (insert name here)."
SD: more nonsense
Boy: "Well, that's it. Just wanted to tell you happy Father's day."
SD: short burst of drivel
Boy: "Ok, that's it. Can I go now?"
SD: blah blah blah
Boy: "That's it, bye."
(end of transmission)
Then The Boy turns to me and says, "Dad sounded sort of funny, like he was panting and panting. I hope he's okay. Now I'm worried about him."
SD has congestive heart failure, and got a pacemaker put in last year. He lives in another state, and that's OK (no, really, that's the state, OK). He calls maybe three times a year. The Boy has called him twice this year - and both times, SD said, "Who IS this?" Lovely. How many other adolescent boys call him 'Dad' on the phone? He has three other sons, but they are in their 30s, I know their voices are much lower. I have no idea if they call. So the man had a one in four chance of guessing the correct name...and he failed.
The Mister has been more of a father to The Boy in a year than the SD has been in the almost 14 years of The Boy's life.
The Mister loved the family picture I schemed to have taken. I lied and said we were attending a children's book party at his daughter's house when the picture was being taken. I'm a lousy liar, I expected to be found out (or at least to have The Boy blurt something out about the photographer). His kids and grandkids all showed up at the same place, and they were early for the appointment. Everyone was cheerful and cooperative (except maybe Eli, who was suffering from sheer orneriness! His mom is holding his hands down in the picture). Even The Boy, the requisite Redheaded Stepchild, did well. They looked lovely. Almost everyone smiled. Mission accomplished!