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Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Father's Day to Ray






Ray & I married almost 17 years ago with thoughts of working for a while longer, retiring, maybe do a little traveling, the usual stuff. Elcie is now 13; she's lived with us since she was a little over a year old and her sisters have never lived anywhere else. I've had the guardianship since September '96.

Which leads me to Father's Day. Ray knew I had kids; Tim was almost grown when we married and Jim was still in the Army overseas. I don't think he anticipated a houseful of great-grandchildren. He has never once in all these years hinted he got a raw deal.

Father's Day is Sunday and I was torn betweeen talking about my dad who was a great father in many ways or talking about Ray (or both). My dad's been gone now for 20 years and I've talked about my life growing up on many other posts so this time I'll talk about Ray (who will probably never read this). He watches me sit here typing all the time and I show him photos and talk about my friends and what's going on in their lives. I read him the funnier jokes. I've tried to show him how to access the blog anytime he wants. He's not uninterested; just a little afraid of computers.

I cheated a little for this post. One of my first posts was about Ray because one of my earliest visitors (Hi. L.) had known me from Blogging Baby for months and never realized I was married. I had to straighten that one out quickly.

He's been my good right arm over the years; loving and supportive to the girls and to me. He does everything he can to make our lives as comfortable as possible.

As a family, we've never bothered with "step" this or "half" that or even "inlaws". We're all just one big extended family. My older son Jim said (from Johnston Atoll) when he first heard about our marriage "she married who? Ray? Ray from Paradise? That Ray?" but he and his brother are fine with the whole thing. It was just a little surprising. The girls call him Grandpa Ray and me Grandma Ann (just to keep the grand and greatgrandparents straight). So far as they're concerned, he's Grandpa.

It's worth repeating what I said in my earlier post. It took me a while to get it right but I finally did.

Here's what I wrote almost a year ago. It's part history, part tribute, and nothing has happened since then to change my mind.

Ray, you're as much a father as most birth parents and this holiday is for you as much as them.
Happy Father's Day!!

Late September 2005

Ray the invisible man - sorry hubby

I never mentioned my husband? That's okay, most people who meet me (without the girls or my husband) for the first time assume I'm lesbian. You know, I have that "look". I think I'm straight but I believe we're all a mix of one thing or another. The whole "girl" thing of hair, makeup, and clothes is lost on me although I make a valiant attempt for the little girls.

Ray is a wonderful human being who leaves me alone to do what I want, brings me ice water, cooks, often beats me to the dishes, the floors, or the laundry, and thinks I walk on water. He still brings me roses. Silly man. After several false starts, I finally got it right. Our life stories are very different - he refers to us as "Yale and jail". For the record, high school, a little college and a lot of business training through the years is it on formal education for me - Yale and jail is just an expression. Oh and he doesn't drive so I have a builtin navigator, map reader, disc jockey, coffee pourer, and child manager. I'm a terrible passenger, too many control issues, so we complement each other nicely.

He and I married over 16 years ago, a little over a year after the father of my two sons died. Jim had been sick for over 5 years and Ray was one of our old friends who was always there for both of us. We met in AA when I was new and he (Ray) was 7. My late husband Jim met Ray later after Jim and I reconciled. Short version - I had done most of my grieving watching my husband die. We had just gotten back together, we were sober and making a good home for the boys, and then prostate cancer decided to move in. Meantime Ray had moved to Paradise (honest, that's the name of the town - up the hill from Chico in gold country). Another good friend lived there as well and I started driving up with Tim (Jim was already in Army) some weekends. Ray started turning up at my friend's house more and more and I imagine you can guess the end of the story. We moved in together in S. F. and decided quickly that while we didn't think a marriage certificate made any real difference, we couldn't figure out how to introduce each other to people. Significant other? Roommate? Shackup? We made a spur of the moment trip to Reno (real craziness for another time), got hitched, and came straight back, just in time for the birth of my son Jim's oldest child, Samantha. With Tim almost grown, I know Ray expected a quiet life with his very first wife but he never batted an eye about the girls - just calmly helped.

He's been ill for some time now; not life threatening, merely debilitating which is still a shame. Some days are better than others. He's supportive of all my radical ways; he knew what he was getting into having known me for 10 years before we married (I think that math is right).

See - just ask and I'll write you a chapter of a novel. If I haven't mentioned him, perhaps I'm taking him for granted. Thanks L. for the reminder.

42 comments:

Gina said...

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how admirable Ray's actions are. He sounds like an absolute gem of a gentleman.

Happy Father's Day to Ray!

ipodmomma said...

I remember that post, and glad you reprinted it, because like Ray, it's a gem.

sometimes life goes on and on, and then along comes a tremendous blessing... you deserve him, and ditto for Ray.

much love to you both, and a very happy Father's Day to Ray!

Missy said...

He sounds like a great man and I know you all love him dearly.

Happy Father's Day, Ray.

L. said...

Awwww.... this one is even better the second time around! Happy Father`s Day, Ray!

Janice said...

Hi Ann,

Ray sounds just right for you! Your cheering section when you need one, your support when your down, Great with the kids, and he lets you be who you are!

Happy Father's day to Ray!

Janice~

Dawn I. said...

What a beautiful post, this is my first time seeing it! I often wonder if I will meet someone, Jeremy has never even known me to have a boyfriend at all. And he doesn't remember his dad. One day I suppose. Congradulations on 17 years!!

Atasha said...

Very beautiful post. You have quite a man there!

Happy Father's Day Ray!

Anvilcloud said...

That's a great tribute, Granny. Have a great day and many more.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Your husband sounds like a wonderful man and I'm sure he is because you have stayed together for 17 years and you're still being sweet and considerate to each other. Your post is a lovely tribute to him for Father's Day.

BTW he sounds a lot like my husband...You're not the neighbor are you?

megz_mum said...

Happy Father's Day from me to Ray! And nicely written also!

PEA said...

I'm sneaking in while my guests are still sleeping! hehe I loved your post and you are indeed very lucky to have found a man like Ray...not too many men would stick around in the situation you found yourself in!! You sound happy and that's the important thing...may you still have many years together:-) Happy Father's Day Ray!!

Kara said...

what a great tribute! happy fathers' day, ray!

Alissa said...

Happy Father's Day to Ray. He sounds like a wonderful, wonderful man. You're lucky to have him...and he's lucky to have someone like you.

Ms. Lori said...

Oh, Ann, I got a bit misty reading this...Gorgeous tribute to an obviously gorgeous man.

Tammy said...

Thanks for sharing that...I feel like I know you and Ray so much better now!
Happy Father's Day Ray!!
:-D

Beth said...

That's sweet. Thank you for sharing it!

Merle said...

Hi Ann ~~ A great tribute to Ray, which
I am sure he richly deserves. Please wish him a very Happy Father's Day from
me for tomorrow. I hope the girls do something nice for him. Love, Merle.

Arwen said...

You are lucky to have Ray, happy father's day!

Ava said...

Hi Ann!

What a lovely post. I enjoyed getting to know you and Ray a little better. Sounds like a wonderful man and I'm so glad that you are happy.

My love to you

Ava

tina said...

What a great story. I'm always learning new things about you and they always impress me. Happy Father's Day, Ray.

Sothis said...

Please tell Ray "Happy Father's Day!" from Belgium. May you all have a happy, peaceful weekend!

wolfbaby said...

What a wonderful thing to do and say!!! He sounds like a great man.

Happy fathers day Ray

Angel said...

What a beautiful tribute :*)

Happy Father's Day to Ray!!

Desert Darlyn said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, but this is my first comment. You are blessed to have Ray. I am in a similar situation with my spouse, except he still drives. I was blessed 23 years ago to meet my husband. He was diagnosed COPD/apneac 5 years ago and has made some major progress since then. He is the "wind beneath my wings" and you have reminded me that I don't tell him often enough. Thanks for the great reading! Cathee

madcapmum said...

He's a good, good man. Happy Father's Day.

stefanierj said...

Oh, bring out the kleenex on this one, Ann. How beautiful. Only thing is, I can't decide who's luckier--him or you?? :)

mreddie said...

Thanks for the reprint, I hadn't heard the story of you and Ray. Sounds like you found a keeper. ec

Andie D. said...

I too want to thank you for the reprint.

I also want to thank you for the reminder to not take our loved ones for granted.

I'm sure Ray knows that he's appreciated and loved!

Happy Father's Day Ray!

mo-wo said...

That is the challenge; things fit so well that the real trick is not to take it for granted?

Some achieve fatherhood and others have fatherhood thrust upon them.. and are great! Happy happy fathers day to Ray.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Ann
A wonderful tribute to Ray, and many thanks for publishing this rich story, of the man you and all of us greatly admire !!

best wishes

Badoozie said...

well, i think you should just print this post off, and put it in a card for him

JBlue said...

Ann, I love the stories of your life. You're wonderful, and so is Ray.

Autumn said...

Happy Father's Day Ray. It sounds like Ann is a lucky lady to have you. (and you her)

JunieRose said...

Happy Father's Day to Ray.

He sounds like one of the good guys!


Junie

Reject the Koolaid said...

Happy Father's Day to Ray.

J said...

What a great post...sounds like people have to deal with life sometimes, and you and Ray do so with grace and wit. I wasn't reading blogs the first time you posted this, so I'm glad you ran it a second time around. :)

Kristen said...

Wow, what a story. Happy Father's Day, Ray!

Gary said...

Ray - you're a gem. Hope you always appreciate and love each other, with such solid actions as you both demonstrate.

Happy Father's Day!

Meow said...

What an amazing man you are married to. Happy Fathers Day, Ray.
Take care, Granny, and have a wonderful week ... Meow

Andrea said...

wow!! 39 comments, yet even a hundred million comments cant say enough about how amazing Ray has been as a dad and a grandpa. You are all very lucky. I hope to be reading about you and Ray for many more years to come.
Stay healthy and stay strong. Lve ya and
Happy Fathers Day Ray!!

Sue said...

Happy Father's Day to Ray..
Glad you reran this earlier post!
Sounds like you two are very lucky to have found each other!

Melissa said...

As usually happens in my life, I'm a little late adding my two cents, but I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your post. Ray sounds like a great person. Happy belated Father's Day.