Sunday, March 14, 2010

Le Beau-père

You know the occasional universe-telepathy-type experiences where the thought of someone pops into your head and then a few days later, you hear from them, or about them? That happened to me again, yesterday.

In exploring Lyon, I came across a great souvenir shop in one of the alleys of “Old” Lyon. You know, the kind with gifts that you might actually not be ashamed to send people?! I should buy that Lion t-shirt for Greg. He would probably love it. He always did appreciate a good novelty t-shirt. Greg was my step-dad. Did I mention that I had a step-dad for ten years? I did.

When my mom remarried, I hated it; No, but like, I really hated it. I was miserable and being adept at what’s best for everyone, I declared the marriage the most impulsive and horrible decision. He was loud, boastful, and garrulous about all subjects involving Vietnam, history, computers, or well, any subject for that matter; the exact opposite of my dad. He did prove useful for school history reports, though, and looking back, I appreciate the stability and support he brought during my parents’ divorce; someone to assuage the chaos. Now, I can understand the impulsivity in my mom's decision, and because in the end, don’t we all just want someone to love and support us?

He worked in the wrong profession (computers); he should’ve been a professor. Nonetheless, his life and history lessons didn’t go unlearned. I attribute a bulk of my strength and assertiveness to him. He’s the one that would make me practice saying “No,” out-loud, in hopes that I would feel secure using it towards boys in high school with “one-track-minds.” “Lauren,” he’d say, “All guys use lines, mostly to try and score. Don’t fall for them.” I experienced this firsthand during a high school makeout session, when a boy tried to get my shirt off in an effort to relieve me from the Sacramento summer heat (What a nice guy?). My shirt stayed on (I think?).

Greg made sure I knew not to dumb myself down for anyone, to exude confidence, and embrace that goofy-make-a-fool-of-yourself-and-laugh-it-off sense of self that most of us are afraid to show; maybe that’s why I want to try Karaoke? He supported my passion for dance and sat there patiently while I made him watch horrendous routines that I choreographed to Aquaman or Spice Girls. At least I didn’t Karaoke to them.

My mom and him divorced some 4+ years ago and contact with him became few and far between. I did see him before I left for France though, when he came to watch my dance performance in November (No, not to Spice Girls). Yesterday, I read an email from my mom that he passed away from heart failure. I had said my peace to him a few months back, when he had had another health scare, and I'm thankful for that. I do wonder how his family is doing, and I wonder how my mom is doing. Though stubborn, moved on, and possibly unsure how to appropriately react to an ex-husband's death, she holds a soft-spot for the good in people, and I wonder how or if she's grieving. My condolences to his family.

I presume that being and Au Pair parallels the characteristics of being a step-parent: You have to find a medium between being responsible and stern with the kids, but not overstepping your boundaries. You want them to like you, but just when you think you’re getting on their good side, they hate you again. You find yourself checking your morning tea for laxatives that they may have deviously slipped in there, because let’s be honest, there’s been more times than one, when you’ve wanted to do it to them. And really, you try to make it into an amicable experience for all because it’s true, you’re there for ulterior motives. It’s not easy and for that, I have a newfound respect for step-parents and for the person that was mine.


  • The sun came out yesterday and the snow that was forecasted for today, kept it's distance.
  • I found a new running trail. The only thing it's missing is Kiki.
  • Speaking of which, she is currently being spoiled at the moment, by my old roommate, Stephanie. Once again, this proves I have great friends.
  • Baking with measuring cups: Thank you Rachel!
  • My best friend in Sacramento received acceptance to 2 graduate schools, and waiting to hear from the rest! Congratulations!!


  1. I'm sorry to hear about Greg. Death is always surreal and hard, even if the person is not currently in your life that much. I hope your mom is okay too!

    Let's talk again this week, if you can. Thinking of you...

  2. oh lauren, i'm really sorry to hear about greg!! it's so eerie that you were just thinking of him, i am a true believer in signals/signs/whatever you want to call them like that. too bizarre to be a coincidence! i'm glad that you at least got to see him this past year and got to say goodbye in a way. still, tragic. here if you need to talk!! well, first i should prob respond to your fb email, i swear i'll get on that lol! aww kiki...awesome that your friend is taking care of her (and she has a pretty cool name, if i do say so myself) hang in there twinny!

  3. (((HUGS))))))

    im so sorry to hear about this, bless his heart. while i have no experience or history with divorces or step/half anything, i am offering you MUCH condolences and rememberances of the good times :)

  4. first, i'll start by saying i'm really sorry about you {ex?} step-father. that's terribly sad. crazy that he crossed your mind and then you find this out.

    second, i somehow came across your blog and am fascinated by your au pair experience. i just browsed through your blog postings from the beginning and i got such a kick out of it. i've nannied for six years, and can totally relate to so much of what you're talking about. minus being in france and living with the family.

    can't wait to continue reading about your adventures!

  5. im sorry to hear about your step-dad.. that is so sad.. but this is a very nice tribute to him.. beautiful post!