Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Spare me

I found out this weekend that I'm a great-aunt. My 20-year-old (or is he 21 now?) nephew, who got married in March '06, just had a baby. That makes my dad a great-grandfather and, more shockingly (for me and Dad), my brother a grandfather. It's one thing to be an aunt many times over, and another when your nephew starts having kids--but to think that one of your siblings is a grandparent--that's a mighty strange feeling.

Dad left me a message on Saturday saying there was some "family news" and that I should call. He'd also left me a message on Friday. I haven't told him about my break up with Owen and I wasn't looking forward to it, which is one reason I didn't call him back on Friday. I never had to tell Mom, because she read it on the blog (hi Mom!). Not that I wish Dad were reading, oh no, but it sure made breaking this particular bit of news easier.

Based on Dad's upbeat tone of voice in Saturday's message, I guessed what the news was and I called Dad. He wasn't home, so my stepmother broke the news and expressed her reluctance to claim the title "great-grandmother." Can't say I blame her. (Aside: why isn't it grand-nephew and grand-aunt?)

On Monday, as is his wont, Dad called me at work. We talked about the baby (who still doesn't have a name), other family stuff and the war (Dad is in favor of anti-war rallies). I was getting going on my political soapbox when Dad changed course on me and said, "So, what about your life? Why didn't Owen go with you to the rally?"

Good question, Dad! "Um because we broke up."

He said, "I was wondering when that was going to happen."

Ouch. "That's a nice thing to say."

"I'm sorry. I mean, I'm sorry to hear that."

Heh, nice save. I said, "Well, I don't even know if Owen would have gone to the protest." I gave Dad the run down on what happened and why I wasn't traumatized. "I'm not perfect, but I wouldn't have done anything differently, he granted that I'd been reasonable in my expectations all along and he said he couldn't be a good boyfriend. The end." It's getting easier to talk about it all the time. Hooray.

Dad said, "I know you're not interested in this, but have you tried any of that online dating? Would you consider it?"

"Um, yeah, I've done it all."

"Really? You never told me! You've been lying to me."

I said, "You know, I don't tell you about every single thing I do in every aspect of my life...it's not..."

"No, I understand." I'm not sure he does.

"Look," I said, "online dating works better for shy people or people who are so picky they will only date people with a specific resume." (No, I'm not sure I actually believe that.) I didn't elaborate further because Dad had to tell me something he'd read about people in England placing ironic ads in a literary magazine. The ad he described was a man describing himself in an unflattering fashion. I've read ads like that and I've even been tempted to answer one, but I always wonder, exactly what kind of person would describe himself as an ugly misanthrope?

I said, "I don't think that would work for women."

"Oh? They interviewed women too."

"Well, men care a lot more about how you look than women do. I mean, women care, but not as much."

"Yes, that's probably true."

Finally, we moved on to other more comfortable topics and soon after that, ended the call. Telling Dad about the break up wasn't so bad, but he sure would like to see me get married.

I know exactly how he feels.

Grateful for: telling Dad.

Drop me a line.

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