Today is the tenth birthday you've celebrated with your new family. The tenth time you've sat at their kitchen table and had happy birthday sung to you while you blew out the candles. What did you wish for? More happy days to come with your new family? Or, to reconcile with your old family? Both? As if both is even an option.
A text is all you received from my brother and I today. Your new son might have gotten you a hat, a "World's Best Dad" mug, or even a card exclaiming how much he cares for you. All your kids, biological or not, care for you. My brother and I care for you because of what you made available for us in a tangible sense; the world. Your other son cares for you because of what you made available for him in an intangible sense; emotions and attachment to a fatherly figure. Someone to send dad memes to, someone to call when your car breaks down and you have no idea what to do, someone who is there.
It's holidays and birthdays like this which make me wonder my place. Do you love me more, dad? Probably not. You likely love me equal or less than your new family members. Some say blood is stronger than water, but I call bullshit. Familial ties due to genetics isn't as relevant in this day and age. The people whom you care about for being them, not just being someone you're related to is what makes family. I have accepted this, but holidays still make it hard to accept.
Despite my disbelief that blood isn't stronger than water, I still care about you. The first quarter of my life was spent waking up and having a true dad, the second quarter of my life was spent waking up to a phone call from dad. The third quarter of my life was spent with bi-monthly phone calls and seeing each other on special occasions. The fourth quarter of my life, now- the present, has succumbed to birthday texts and occasionally holidays. No presents nor visits, just texts.
When you blow out your candle today, I hope you make a wish. A wish that I can be completely liked and want to be talked to by you, not because we're just related.
I hope you get a party, presents, and a cake with ten more candles added to it from the last birthday I saw you. I hope even when we don't talk you know that I care. I hope you do, too.
So, happy birthday to the dad who has a new life. New life isn't analogous with better life, but it probably is better.
Out of sight out of mind, just don't get too out of my sight, Dad.