He Didn't Have To Be
A/N & Disclaimer- This story is inspired by the song, "He Didn't Have To Be" by Brad Paisley. As usual I do not own anything but my laptop and my Perry the Platypus tee-shirt.
I don't really remember him. The man who would be considered my biological father that is. The same man whom I haven't seen since I was a small child. Although I vaguely remember him, I still have memories of those first few months that he was gone and it was just the three of us; mom, my infant brother Phineas and I. It was really tough for all of us in the beginning as our mom adjusted to being the sole provider for us two. I remember coming home from Kindergarten and seeing her close to tears as she rocked my colicky brother to sleep, while the house remained a mess and ramen, the only thing we could afford at that time, cooked on the stove.
I also remember watching mom, who previously was a stay at home mother at that time, started searching for a job. When she found a lead, she would drop Phineas and me, to our babysitter who, at that time was a cranky old lady who lived across the street and smelt like cigarettes before heading over to another job interview, only not to get the job. I remember hearing her cry late at night on the phone to my Grandma, Betty Jo, when she thought that Phineas and I were asleep telling her how hopeless she felt, and wishing for a way to make everything better.
Then one day after school, I recall coming home from school to find my mom elated. She had just received a phone call earlier that day informing her that she was hired to work at an antique shop ran by some man, named Lawrence Fletcher, who had just recently moved to the area from England. I can still remember the way her face lit up when she told Phineas and I the good news, and how nervous she was going in on her first day, only for her to come home with a huge smile on her face.
I also remember when she first started dating again. I would watch as she her style her hair, put on her make up and nicest clothes before dropping us off at her new friend, Vivian Garcia-Shapiro's who also had a child Phineas' age house before going on her date. Some times we would meet the men afterwards, but usually not. I found that when we did get the chance to meet the men that they wouldn't date my mom afterwards claiming that she had too much "baggage." Even not knowing what it meant at the time, I knew it hurt mom, and I hated to see the look on her face when she was rejected once again.
But then came the day that everything changed for the better. Lawrence, the man I mentioned earlier, had a crush on my mom and finally asked her on a date. I vividly remember when I first meet him that day, before they headed out to their concert. Even though he seemed to be a bit of a nerd that talked with a heavy British accent and seemed a bit eccentric , he was very kind to Phineas and I and actually took the time to talk to us, unlike the other men who wanted little to nothing to do with us. I found out a few days later that he was a single father with a son a few months older then Phineas. I watched from upstairs as he, acting like a prefect gentleman presented my mom with a rose and escorted her to his car, as they left for the concert. I also remember seeing my mom positively glowing as she paid the babysitter later that night, and how she was happy she was, humming to herself as he tucked Phineas and me in for the night.
One date lead to another, and soon Lawrence became a regular fixture in our lives. I remember the day when it was Phineas' second birthday and he brought his son over for the first time. I remember him introducing the green haired boy to us, and how odd I thought the boy was at first. Phineas, on the other hand, was just pleased to have a new friend, and in no time at all , the two were busy playing with the toy rollercoaster that they have given him. Looking back, I didn't realize the significance of it all and that it marked the beginning of something special.
The dates continued after that. Lawrence still occasionally bring over Ferb, whose bond with my brother seemed to be growing every day. I remember the day when it was their one year anniversary when he came over. He was all dressed up and seemed very nervous, even though I didn't really understand why. I soon found out my answer after dinner when he asked us to go to the living room where he proposed to mom and asked for Phineas and my blessing. Of course we all said yes, and they were married soon after.
The wedding was beautiful. I was a flower girl while Phineas and Ferb were co-ring bearers. My aunt, Tiana was the maid of honor while my grandpa, Clyde gave her away. I remember how joyful everyone was and the tears on each one of their faces as the couple recited their vows. Most of all, I remember my grandfather's speech that he gave at the reception about what a great of a man he thought Lawrence was, and how glad that he was now a part of the family. I also fondly remember the kiss that followed by the newly weds, and how great the cake was.
I remember that after the wedding how quickly and well our two families blended together and how natural it seemed to all of us. I also recall how even early on, Lawrence took to the role of being a father to Phineas and me, loving us and teaching us everything he knew. I remember him being there for me, taking care of me when I was sick, and consoling me when I was upset or scared, as well as the time when he had tears in his eyes when Phineas and I called him "dad," for the first time.
Our relationship wasn't always perfect all the time of course. Like any relationship we have had our ups and downs, but I know that he would be there for me no matter what . One in peculiar instance that stands out in my mind was when I was a senior in high school. There was a party I wanted to go to on the other side of town, so I snuck out. While there I got into a situation where I was in way too deep. Even though it was still early morning I called home asking for help. Coming into the party wearing the dorkiest pajamas I've ever seen, he escorted me out to the car where he proceeded to gave me a stern talking to, while grounding me for a month. Although I was angry and humiliated at the time, I came to realized he did it because he cared for me.
I also remember when Jeremy, my boyfriend of five years asked him for my hand in marriage, which of course he said yes to. I can still see the pride on his face as he walked me down the isle, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. And I'll always remember that during the reception as well, when he stood up and gave a speech that reminded me of my grandpa's long ago, while tears feel from in his eyes as he welcomed Jeremy into the family. And as long as I live, I will never forget the father and daughter dance that followed soon afterwards when he held me in his arms and whispered into my ears how proud of me he was and how happy he was to be my father. It didn't matter to him that we didn't share the same DNA, because to him, it's the love that we share that truly matters.
Now as I sit on my bed holding the pictures from the first ultrasound, I feel tears falling down my face as I think about him, and how I hope that for my unborn child that I could be half the mom, my dad, Lawrence Fletcher didn't have to be.