Talkin’ With Pook

pook at the beach

Today is a special day. It’s Pookie’s ninth birthday. I’ve had the good fortune of being her step dad for nearly four years now. All told, I’ve known her for two thirds of her life.

And I’ve loved her every minute of it.

While Caroline was carrying the triplets, countless well intentioned people would say something along these lines: “Just wait til you have your own children.”

“I’m sure. I’ve got Alli, so I know what you mean.”

“Yeah, but just wait. You’ll see.”

The insinuation, of course, was that I didn’t know what they meant and that I wouldn’t until I had my own biological children. And I understand what those people meant. The best day of my life (aside from my wedding day) was the one when the wee threesome began their reign of planet Earth. But that said, I don’t love Alli any differently than I doย A, B, or C, except, perhaps, for the fact that I love her like a parent loves his or her first child.

My point? The fact that she’s not “mine” has never made a difference. And it never will.

When I proposed to Lovie, it was important to me that Pookie be part of the process. So after I sought permission from Lovie’s mom (her dad is deceased), I sought the same thing from Pook. Here’s how it went down.

“Pookie, I got something very important I wanna talk to you about. So pick anywhere in the whole house where you want to have a serious chat.”

Oddly, she chose the very corner of her momma’s bedroom where we sat Indian style facing one another. Perhaps odder still, my hands were damp with anxiety.

Deep breath.

“You know I love you, right?” I began.

“Yeeeessss,” she answered coyly.

“Did you know I love your mommy, too?”

“I thought you loved her!” She wore a grin that stretched from one ear to another.

“Well you’re right. In fact, I love your mommy so much that I wanna marry her.”

A look of genuine disappointment came across Pookie’s face. “But Mommy’s already married,” she said while looking down at the planks of the hardwood floor, her finger tracing an imaginary pattern.

Understandable confusion for sure. After all, Pookie was only four, and divorce is anything but black and white. A less prepared man might have been derailed by such confusion. But luckily, I had anticipated this stumbling block.

“Oh, honey, your mommy’s actually not married to your daddy any more. That’s why you live in this house,” I said, making a sweeping gesture with my arm. “Remember that book It’s Not Your Fault Koko Bear?”

Of course she did. She and her mom read it together all the time. I had even read it to her a time or two.

“Well, it’s just like Koko Bear’s Mommy and Daddy. They were all grumpy and grumbly when they lived together so they decided not to be married any more and moved into different homes. So, just like Koko Bear, you have two homes now.”

“Well, if you married Mommy, where would you live?”

“I’d move in with y’all.”

Pook’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Would Briggs come, too?”

Hmmm. The downside seemed to be that the prospect of living with my dog was more appealing than that of living with me. But the upside? I had a trump card. So I laid it down like Phil Ivey.

“He sure would, honey.”

Excitement turned to flat-out jubilation. “You better bring his food!”

“I will, honey. I will. So whaddya say?”

Permission granted.

Pookie, thank you for letting me marry your mom. And thank you, also, for being such a wonderful daughter. I can’t believe you’re nine, already! You’re becoming such a big girl, and I want you to know how proud I am of you! Happy Birthday, sweetheart! I love you SO VERY MUCH!

pookie always makes a splash in whatever she does!

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but heโ€™s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • http://lindagoossen-grandmaspage.blogspot.com Lnda

    What a wonderful post, and what a wonderful relationship you have with your daughter.

    My folks were divorced and remarried by the time I was 3, so I never knew anything except 2 moms and 2 dads. I had a great relationship with all of them, my whole life. I only have my step-dad left, and it is going to be as hard to lose him as it was the rest of them!

    Happy Birthday, Pookie!

  • http://lindagoossen-grandmaspage.blogspot.com Lnda

    What a wonderful post, and what a wonderful relationship you have with your daughter.

    My folks were divorced and remarried by the time I was 3, so I never knew anything except 2 moms and 2 dads. I had a great relationship with all of them, my whole life. I only have my step-dad left, and it is going to be as hard to lose him as it was the rest of them!

    Happy Birthday, Pookie!

  • http://jugglingeric.blogspot.com Eric

    I love it. I did the same thing when before I proposed to my wife. I asked her son (then 8) before I asked her dad. I completely admire the genuine love and affection you have for Pookie.

    I hope she has a blessed and wonderful day.

  • http://jugglingeric.blogspot.com Eric

    I love it. I did the same thing when before I proposed to my wife. I asked her son (then 8) before I asked her dad. I completely admire the genuine love and affection you have for Pookie.

    I hope she has a blessed and wonderful day.

  • http://ifmomsaysok.wordpress.com Tara R.

    I love that you asked Pookie for Lovey’s hand in marriage. Pookie is lucky to have you as her second dad.

    Happy Birthday Pookie!

  • http://ifmomsaysok.wordpress.com Tara R.

    I love that you asked Pookie for Lovey’s hand in marriage. Pookie is lucky to have you as her second dad.

    Happy Birthday Pookie!

  • Deb Purcell

    When I met my husband his son was 2 and my 3 son’s were 7, 6 and 5. When we decided to get married Jr was almost 4 and was the Best Man at our wedding. This was important because he only visited us on weekends and during school breaks. Jr wanted to be part of this family so much and to have brothers. His Dad wanted him to know how important he was.

    I have never ever treated Jr any different than my own son’s and I couldn’t love him any more. I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

    Our 29th wedding anniversary is next weekend. Our blended family has blessed us with 19 grandchildren.

    Your oldest daughter will always remember the day you asked her to marry her Mom. What a thoughtful and beautiful man you are John. We have much to be thankful for. Thank you for sharing your joy.

    Deb

  • Deb Purcell

    When I met my husband his son was 2 and my 3 son’s were 7, 6 and 5. When we decided to get married Jr was almost 4 and was the Best Man at our wedding. This was important because he only visited us on weekends and during school breaks. Jr wanted to be part of this family so much and to have brothers. His Dad wanted him to know how important he was.

    I have never ever treated Jr any different than my own son’s and I couldn’t love him any more. I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

    Our 29th wedding anniversary is next weekend. Our blended family has blessed us with 19 grandchildren.

    Your oldest daughter will always remember the day you asked her to marry her Mom. What a thoughtful and beautiful man you are John. We have much to be thankful for. Thank you for sharing your joy.

    Deb

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    You rock. Pookie is a great girl, which one would expect considering who her mother is, and I am glad you and she have such a great relationship. :-) It is great that you included her in the decision, and you talked to her about it in a serious way as well as in a place where she was comfortable. You did good, John. But I figured you would have. :-)

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    You rock. Pookie is a great girl, which one would expect considering who her mother is, and I am glad you and she have such a great relationship. :-) It is great that you included her in the decision, and you talked to her about it in a serious way as well as in a place where she was comfortable. You did good, John. But I figured you would have. :-)

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    I like your style John. Great post.

    Happy Birthday Pookie. I hope it was a terrific day

  • http://liayf.blogspot.com Seattledad

    I like your style John. Great post.

    Happy Birthday Pookie. I hope it was a terrific day

  • http://www.reallyareyouserious.com Krystyn

    How very sweet and perfect…and lesser man wouldn’t have done the same thing! It’s obvious you love her just the same.

    Happy 9th birthday, Pookie.

  • http://www.reallyareyouserious.com Krystyn

    How very sweet and perfect…and lesser man wouldn’t have done the same thing! It’s obvious you love her just the same.

    Happy 9th birthday, Pookie.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com Jack

    Pookie is lucky to have you, even if you are a Lane Kiffin fan. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com Jack

    Pookie is lucky to have you, even if you are a Lane Kiffin fan. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    Very cool man! You’re all style and class!

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    Very cool man! You’re all style and class!

  • http://surprisedmom.blogspot.com SurprisedMom

    Happy Birthday, Pookie! I hope it was wonderful!

    John, I love the fact you asked Pookie if it was ok to marry Lovey. You seem to have a strong and loving relationship, the kind all girls want with their dads.

    It’s amazing how people underestimate the power of love.

  • http://surprisedmom.blogspot.com SurprisedMom

    Happy Birthday, Pookie! I hope it was wonderful!

    John, I love the fact you asked Pookie if it was ok to marry Lovey. You seem to have a strong and loving relationship, the kind all girls want with their dads.

    It’s amazing how people underestimate the power of love.

  • http://joyfuladdition.blogspot.com Jose (@jgbreton)

    Beautiful post man. Brought tears to my eyes.

  • http://joyfuladdition.blogspot.com Jose (@jgbreton)

    Beautiful post man. Brought tears to my eyes.

  • Ryan

    What a wonderful post. My cousin and best friend has a step daughter. He tells a story very similar to this. Kudos to you John. You have a big big heart.

  • Ryan

    What a wonderful post. My cousin and best friend has a step daughter. He tells a story very similar to this. Kudos to you John. You have a big big heart.

  • http://allthatcomeswithit.com Dan

    That’s a cool thing to do, and admirable.

    Although I can’t help thinking you’d have had a confused 4 year old if your wife had said no. But all in all you still did it in the right order :)

  • http://allthatcomeswithit.com Dan

    That’s a cool thing to do, and admirable.

    Although I can’t help thinking you’d have had a confused 4 year old if your wife had said no. But all in all you still did it in the right order :)

  • http://www.fabricmarketknoxville.com Laura Higdon

    Yet another thing we have in common! Eric was 6 when Dr. Barron married us and was his father’s best man. We have never used the words “step” or “half” when referring to our relationship. I prefer the word “bonus.” He’s now 25 and has always been a terrific big brother. I am so proud of him and love him madly. Happy Belated Birthday, Pookie!

  • http://www.fabricmarketknoxville.com Laura Higdon

    Yet another thing we have in common! Eric was 6 when Dr. Barron married us and was his father’s best man. We have never used the words “step” or “half” when referring to our relationship. I prefer the word “bonus.” He’s now 25 and has always been a terrific big brother. I am so proud of him and love him madly. Happy Belated Birthday, Pookie!

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    This is very sweet.

    However, being the optimist that I am, I can’t help but bring up nightmare scenarios that didn’t happen. Like, what if Pookie had said “No, Way” or worse, if Pookie was all excited and Lovie said “No, Way”?

    Yes, I can find the dark cloud on and silver lining.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    This is very sweet.

    However, being the optimist that I am, I can’t help but bring up nightmare scenarios that didn’t happen. Like, what if Pookie had said “No, Way” or worse, if Pookie was all excited and Lovie said “No, Way”?

    Yes, I can find the dark cloud on and silver lining.

  • http://clarkkentslunchbox.blogspot.com/ Clark Kent’s Lunchbox

    Man, you brought tears to my eyes, probably because I understand the extra dimensions of being a stepdad. You’re my hero. Happy Birthday to her. Would be nice to one day get our two Alli/Allie’s together. Bet they’d hit it off.

  • http://clarkkentslunchbox.blogspot.com/ Clark Kent’s Lunchbox

    Man, you brought tears to my eyes, probably because I understand the extra dimensions of being a stepdad. You’re my hero. Happy Birthday to her. Would be nice to one day get our two Alli/Allie’s together. Bet they’d hit it off.

  • Nicki

    I missed this last week. Happy belated Birthday to Pookie!

  • Nicki

    I missed this last week. Happy belated Birthday to Pookie!

  • http://www.irrationaldad.com Irrational Dad

    Very cool. Happy birthday to your not-so-little-anymore daughter!

  • http://www.irrationaldad.com Irrational Dad

    Very cool. Happy birthday to your not-so-little-anymore daughter!

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday Pookie!

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday Pookie!

  • http://www.glenslife.com Glen

    It takes great strength to do what you have done – but the rewards are endless.

    well done

  • http://www.glenslife.com Glen

    It takes great strength to do what you have done – but the rewards are endless.

    well done