My Dad Is Not Your Dad, but We Have the Same Dad

Better late than never, I jumped on the “This Is Us” bandwagon. I avoided it for many reasons but mostly because I didn’t want to cry. When I have a chance to watch tv, I seek out sports or comedy. It’s my chance to get a brain release and This Is Us just seemed too serious. Fast forward to today, and I wonder how I lived without it. Besides being relatable from an adoption stand point (my husband and I have a 6 year old, mixed race son), the family dynamic is overwhelming interesting.

In a recent episode, during family therapy, a topic came up for discussion regarding how each child experienced their childhood differently. I grew up with siblings and often wonder how our perspectives might differ – if my dad (or mom) was the same as their dad (or mom). My dad was great, mostly. He attended Girl Scout camp outs with me, coached me in sports, cooked dinner for us, picked us up from school. Sure, his faults were present; it’s funny that when you’re young, you sometimes forget your parents are humans too.

Now, I’m realizing my dad isn’t my sister’s dad, nor do my two brothers share the same dad. I am my dad’s favorite, I think. My parents lost a daughter at birth, and when they had me, I kind of filled the void. I was an independent child with a “just let me do it myself” attitude. My sister, the baby of the bunch, wasn’t into playing sports; she is more academically inclined and that didn’t interest my dad. My oldest brother, the guy we always joked could walk on water, is a social guy, involved in anything he can be. He played sports when he was younger, so he and my dad did share some special moments in that capacity. My other brother, older than me, but second in line, is pretty much identical to my dad. They enjoy most of the same hobbies, but butt heads because they are so similar. He was more of a challenge, struggling in school and often needing additional assistance at night to complete homework. 

Now that I’m a parent, I realize the reasons why we experienced such different parents. My mom would often say “I love you all the same, but I like you all differently.” I get it. Why would she like me when I was a rebellious teen? Why would she like me when I was defiant in my independent ways? I often wonder if my husband and I are lucky enough to adopt again, will I show partiality? My son is the best answered prayer I’ve received. Will he forever be my favorite because he made me a mom? He’s also the easiest child ever – going with any flow, eating any food, doing all of his chores … will he simply be my favorite because he’s easy?

Regardless of the mom and dad you had, remember the way you see it might not be the way your siblings see it. The parent you think you are might not be the parent your child believes he / she has. That’s okay as long as it doesn’t cause any resentment. I don’t think there is any amongst my siblings, but I’m also not signing up for family therapy any time soon!

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