• StevenF

Temporary Fatherhood

I mentioned in my my last post that Isaias and I are watching are great-nephews. We've had to alter our sleeping schedules because of this. Isaias and I normally work late and often don't go to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning. But this week, because the kids get up at 6:30am, I am up at the crack of dawn making sure they eat breakfast and have their schoolwork, and then I walk them to school just before 8:00am.

The staff at the school are really nice. It's also so refreshing to walk and smell and feel the ocean air. That's one thing I really love about where my niece lives—it's so close to the ocean. I love how green it is here, too. That's one thing I've always disliked about Vegas: everything is so beige and dry.

Aside from going to school there, I never imagined that I would end up in Vegas so permanently. But I fell in love with a Vegas native, and my course was set. Now that Isaias' mom has passed away, we sometimes toy with the idea of moving. But we both have good jobs, and our house is full to the brim with stuff, so the idea seems impractical right now. Maybe when one or both of us retire, it will seem more doable.

Today a wildlife expert visited the boys' school, and they got to see a bunch of animals, including a prairie dog, an owl, a snake, and I think a chinchilla. There were more, but those are the ones I remember.

I picked the boys up from school at 2:00pm while Isaias went fabric shopping and to get food. I helped the boys with the homework. Levi, who's seven going on eight, really has gotten good at reading and writing. I'm impressed. He's improved a lot since we last visited, which was around Christmastime. He had to read to me and had some sentences to write, and he did really well.

Liam, who's nine, had math homework, which I was no good at correcting because math is not my forté, even third-grade math. He had to figure out the side lengths of various rectangular shapes and show his work. No idea if it was correct, but it looked right to me. He also had to copy several sentences in cursive. He missed a bunch of words, which I gently pointed out and told him he would have to make some corrections.

I thought he might have a meltdown. He is high-functioning austistic, and anything that varies from his expectations or routine can set him off. But he was calm, especially when I pointed out that everyone makes mistakes and that's why erasers were created. He ended up doing his work over, although I think this frustrated him, but he did it, and it turned out well. He's a smart kid. They both are, really.

Then I let them watch TV. They watched this show called Battle Kitty, which was not my kind of show, but they thought it was funny. Incidentally, one of my classmates from grad school was one of the voice actors for it. He's made a pretty good career as a voiceover artist. I'm proud of him.

We eventually ate dinner, and Isaias said the boys' mom called to say we could get them gelato if we wanted, so I took Liam with me while Levi watched the rest of Battle Kitty and we got gelato.

Pretty soon, it was the boys' bedtime. They are excited because tomorrow is Friday, and they told me they don't have homework tomorrow. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I will find out tomorrow. They are also allowed to play an hour of video games tomorrow, so they are looking forward to that.

They have been really good. It did take them a bit to get settled this evening, but they are finally in bed. It will be another early day tomorrow.

I took what I thought would be a funny photo of Levi. Well, it is funny, but I thought he would find it funny, but he seemed annoyed by it.

We miss our cats. Franki has never been left by us since we adopted him, and he doesn't know our niece Savannah, who is taking care of our kids while we are gone, so he's been a bit nervous and hasn't come out much while she's been there.

While we are here, we have been visiting with my other niece's cat, Romeo. Here are a couple of photos of him "working out."

He's a cutie.

I also got my haircut today. I'm going to poof up the top a bit more tomorrow, but this is how it came out today. I'm quite happy with it.

Also while we are here, we are going to visit our friend Mo, and we are also going to visit my step-uncle, who we just found out about a year or so ago. He is the illegitimate child of my mom's stepfather, who had a relationship with his mother long before my grandfather ever met my grandmother. We've corresponded with my uncle many times, but we are eager to meet him in person and have lunch with him and his wife.

Isaias has been working on his art while we have been here. It's been a stressful time for Isaias lately, both with his job and with some personal family matters. I'm glad he's able to work on something that brings him joy and a bot of relaxation.

So far, it's been an enjoyable time here. It's weird being in a more fatherly role (even moreso than with our cats), but there is something gratifying about it.

Yesterday when I was walking the boys home from school, Levi grabbed my hand. I know having his father away is not always easy, and I think having a male figure around is important for both the boys. They love us, and we love them.

I sometimes get sad that my other niece has cut Isaias and I off from her children because she and her husband do not feel that a gay couple are good role models for their kids. Their loss, I say. We wish we knew them better. But our relationship with Liam, Levi, and their parents is such a good and positive one, and I suspect one day in the future, my other niece will regret that she didn't let us more into their lives. We also suspect that her youngest son will probably end up being gay himself, so she and her husband may have to deal with that eventually. It's too bad they feel the way they do, but there's nothing we can do about it.

As for Liam and Levi, they have two "guncles" who love and adore them very much.

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