I thought I had covered it all, but yet again I find myself explaining the complex relationships of family members to my two fine young sons.
No Daddy is not married to Baa-chan( J. grandma) nor is he married to Aunty T, who is in fact his sister. Daddy is married to me. Daddy got married twice. Both times to me! once in Japan and the second time at Gretna Green. if he has been married to anyone else at anytime I do not know , nor wish to know about it!”
“Sister? Daddy has a sister?”
( Oh good you listened to all that about Gretna Green then?)
“Yes, Daddy has a sister. Aunty T is Daddy’s sister.
Are either of you going to get married?”
” Jim is going to marry Blue Summer”
” I So am not”
” You are too”
” No I’m not”
” Stop stop stop, are you going to have kids?”
JIM ” 10″
KEV ” 2, no boys!”
KEV, ” I want Jii-chan ( J, Granddad) to see my kids”
” Me too, I want to see your kids”
” You can’t, you’ll be dead.”
” Why will I be dead already and Jii-chan who is now nearly 80 gets to hang around for them?”
” It’s just the way it is”.
” So who is Mama married too”
JIM ” I know this one, don’t tell me I know I know, Daddy!”
” Excellent my son! And does Mama have any brothers and sisters?”
Buhboo! guess again
” Um Feet and Sleuth?”
” No but I’m sure they will be flattered”.
” the man at the cigarette shop?”
” Edward and Victor?”
” Nooo, they are my cousins, Edward’s Dad was my Dad’s brother.”
” You have a Dad?”
” I thought I told you all this a few times already, where is your England grandad?”
” In heaven.”
” In heaven, that’s right.”
” Did he see my chick?”
” I’m sure he did. Now what about Mama’s brother, who is Mama’s brother?”
” Uncle Brick.”
” Wrong again”.
While I could certainly do better at keeping my kids informed, use photos etc, and my brother and I really should make a greater effort, it makes me realise it’s all part of ex-pat life. My kids feel more connected to people we have had the good fortune and the opportunity to import into our lives. In the absence of a village we have had to create one. A support system is essential, not just for yourself but for your kids, a selection of good role models they can choose from, especially for when they hit their teens and just by sheer virture of being their parent you know nothing and they need to look to other trustworthy adults for guidance. Without an ‘actual’ family ( though just because people are *real* family doesn’t mean they are good role models) we ( ex-pats) have to have key people in place to be there for our kids, as we will be for theirs when the time comes.
” Mama, if you have another baby, can I be his uncle?”