Star Wars: The Parental Conundrum

This weekend I took Ashley and the girls to go see the new Star Wars cartoon movie making for a nice activity on a rainy afternoon. Allie and Avery, to my great relief are enthusiastically becoming fans of the epic saga. They kept telling Ashley and me how much they liked the movie and even watched the live action versions of Episode 1 and Episode 2.

Now this would be just great for a dad in a traditional home, right on par with a daughter telling her dad she'd like to watch football with him and by the way, she's voluntarily never dating until she's 35. However, given my boys are not living here with me, there's something of an issue developing.

The next night while I was on the phone talking to Noah, he started telling me about the Star Wars books I sent him last week. "Ya, Dad. Commander Rex is in it and Commander Cody, and Master Windu."

"I think, Master Windu's only in it for a few parts." I said

"How did you know that, Dad?" Noah asked suspiciously.

The tone in his voice made me feel like I'd just been caught in letting spill some secret I'd been trying to keep from him for a long time. Several weeks ago he asked if I was coming to take him to see the new movie. The fact that we live several states apart and the finances are so tight made the likelihood of this happening about slim to nil. I told him it probably wouldn't work out, but even in my own mind I've held out hope that I could.

As much as I enjoyed taking the girls, there was an equal amount of sadness in me as I thought of Noah sitting at home with his brothers thousands of miles away while I sat there waiting for the lights to go down and the previews to start rolling. Star Wars has always been something that the boys and I have enjoyed together, and Noah even more so than his brothers. We talk about the characters, make up stories, and discuss our favorite toys almost nightly for the past several years. So, to tell him I saw the movie with his step-sisters almost felt like cheating on him, and I made no mention of it.

One of the issues I'm very sensitive to is making sure my sons do not feel like they are being replaced by their two stepsisters. That would never be the case, but because of the physical distance between us sometimes circumstances appear to dictate otherwise. It doesn't help that their mother has made those sorts of accusations to me already, which makes me wonder if she inadvertently passes these thoughts onto the boys. I'm sure they, particularly Noah, feel that way just naturally as kids need security in such disjointed family situations, but it would help to know their mom reassured them otherwise.

With Allie and Avery, I respect the fact they already have a dad, and I go out of my way to encourage a positive image of him. There are activities and events he likes to enjoy with the girls that are theirs alone, and I'm careful never to compete with him by attempting to do those same things. When Avery asked me to call her by a pet name that her dad came up with for her, I explained that was a special name for just her and daddy. Avery beamed at that, and it was because she knew it made her feel feel like she was special to her dad.

I'm not a replacement dad for Allie and Avery, and they are not a replacement for my boys. I love them all and my responsibility to be a father and parent is equally imperative across the board. However, there are those times when I feel like I can't share everything so as to spare the feelings of my three, little Star Wars younglings in a galaxy far far away.

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