My Life as a Stand-in Dad
June 19, 2022 2:01 PM   Subscribe

When my sister’s kids were young, I moved in with them and became a co-parent. Now that they’re college-aged, I asked them what they made of that time, and how they came to think of me as both their uncle and replacement father figure. [CW: article is fine, but site has some NSFW content; links might be jarring]
posted by cynical pinnacle (15 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting perspective but some content warning? I really wasn't prepared for the list of titles of "other articles you might like." The linked magazine ("Mel") describes itself quite openly as: "We also talk about dicks a lot."
posted by dum spiro spero at 3:13 PM on June 19 [4 favorites]

I used to kind of want a Father’s Day equivalent for father figures

That exists, its called Father's Day.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:37 PM on June 19 [9 favorites]

I dunno, I can see not feeling like Father’s Day is for you when you are also their uncle. Maybe his sister had feelings about it.

I thought it was a strong piece, and the moment when he couldn’t prove that the daughter was “his,” since he’d forgotten his wallet, was heart-stopping.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:12 PM on June 19 [8 favorites]

We were live-in auntie & uncle to our friends' kid (from age 3 to age 6) and it was awesome. Especially since we aren't going to have kids, having sustained time with them was delightful. I still have little sayings I picked up from that kid. "How come?" (For some reason they used that instead of "why?"). And the time they overheard me say something like "I'm going to drag [spouse] to [an event probably] and they piped up, righteously indignant on spouse's behalf. "You can't drag [spouse]. He's a human being!"
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:49 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]

I appreciated getting to read this; thanks.
posted by brainwane at 5:50 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]

Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers, literal and practical/figurative.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:42 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]

I really need to stop reading in such dusty rooms.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:04 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]

Mod note: added that content warning
posted by taz (staff) at 10:28 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed that article. I felt for him on that situation too.

Also reminded me of Roy Kent and his niece.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:03 PM on June 19 [4 favorites]

If you want more Zaron Burnett talking about his family (especially his father) as well as Black Cowboys, well, there’s a podcast written and narrated by him.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:26 AM on June 20

spamandkimchi, 'how come' instead of 'why' is common in some parts of the Southern US. :)
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 4:51 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]

I used to kind of want a Father’s Day equivalent for father figures

That exists, its called Father's Day.

Anecdote. I once got my husband's aunt a Mother's Day card, since she raised him since he was 9 months old. She was very uncomfortable and I didn't ever do that again. I suspect it is because his mother is still living but I don't really know why it was so awkward. So for some families, Father's Day encompassing both works, but for others, for whatever reason, it doesn't.
posted by domino at 7:33 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]

I loved that the kids drew themselves, especially their future selves, as looking like their uncle. Just assumed they'd look like him as they got older. It makes so much sense and is so loving.
posted by blueberry monster at 9:56 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]

Ms. Moonlight, thanks for the info! We were in Honolulu, but it's very possible that the Houston-raised parent accounts for the kid's word choice then. Or maybe there was a preschool teacher from the U.S South? At some point, the kid switched to "why" and we asked them "how come you stopped using how come" and that stumped everyone.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:17 AM on June 20

This is a lovely article. Thanks so much, OP!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:45 AM on June 22

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