Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fatherhood of a Different Sort

Since 1993, I've been an English teacher, and I like to think that my students are, in essence, my children. I do help nurture them while they're in my class, but they were born to (and/or raised by) other people. Those people, in most cases, had the distinct pleasure of seeing their child from birth all the way through adulthood. Despite the fact that I have the ability to adopt children (having none of my own), I realistically won't, for reasons beyond this post. I've made my peace with that, actually.

I do, however, have children of my own. You're thinking, "Didn't he just say he didn't have kids?" I don't have the flesh-and-blood sort of children, but I do have offspring that came from the fruit of my... mind. My characters came from the blessed union of my inspiration and me. I know that sounds a bit odd, so I should explain. First, I have two sons: Danelos Fairmont and Brandon Jeffries. These boys are everything a father could want and more. 

Left: Dan by Silver Jow; Right: Dan by Mike Hamlett
Let me introduce you to Dan. My firstborn, he's an educated man, someone who takes excellent care of himself physically, mentally, and spiritually. He's a college professor of Archaeology and Antiquities at Boston University, a school where I would love to teach. Being a hero means he has to take care of himself, so he works out regularly (I wish I had his exercise regimen) and eats pretty healthily. Unlike his old man, however, he has long, black hair and blue eyes. No milkman here—he really is my kid, I swear.

He enjoys puzzles of all kinds, especially when it comes to figuring out prophecy, and loves crosswords. He's chosen a different spiritual path than I have since he's taken a sacred pledge to Gaea and Olympeia, the spirit of Mount Olympos. Hey, it makes him happy. While some kids go off and get tattoos, Dan wears a manacle that shows his allegiance to the goddesses to whom he's devoted himself. When he was old enough, I gave him his first weapon, PortalBearer, and he's mastered it like any good son would. He 'came out' to me when he was in his early teens, something I have no problem with, of course, and—like me—he's monogamous. I'm really proud of Dan for all his accomplishments, taking up with the U.N. Task Force Division.

Left: Brandon by Silver Jow; Right: Brandon by Mike Hamlett
My other son, Brandon, looks a little more like me (when I had more hair). He's my "tree hugger" son, the one who works as a zoologist also through Boston University, but he tends to work on making sure the animals are where they need to be. He's also like me in that he loves to be outdoors, hiking, camping, running, etc. Like Dan, he also takes excellent care of himself, eating organic food, avoiding processed products, and working out, but he stays more in shape from his outdoor activities.

His spirituality comes from his connection to the sky mostly, and looks for guidance in the stars. I tried to tell him he had taken on quite a bit, trying to find his path that way, but he's a stubborn kid. He has an amulet, something he never takes off no matter what, and it allows him to channel the abilities of the Zodiac signs. This boy has a heart of gold, and his connection to Virgo confirms that. Brandon doesn't have a devious bone in his body, and he would have been a Boy Scout or something similar if he could have. He, too, works with the U.N. Task Force Division, alongside Dan, and they're like brothers.

Now what kind of proud poppa would I be if I didn't tell you about my two girls, Aleta Halston and Sarah Jacobs. They are the apple of my eye.

Left: Aleta by Silver Jow; Right: Aleta by Mike Hamlett
From an early age, Aleta loved working with animals, birds especially, so when she wanted to go to medical school, who was I to argue? She graduated with a few degrees and expertise in genetics. The day she became Dr. Aleta Halston was one of the proudest moments in my life. My little girl—a doctor. Now, she's like me in a few ways, but the most obvious one is my sarcasm. This girl can wound with words in a way that makes some people nervous. Yeah, she got her razor sharp wit from me. Sometimes, her headstrong nature gets in the way of her relationships, and she hasn't had a serious boyfriend in a while. Baby steps, I say.

A father can't always be there when his little girl gets into trouble, and she was caught in the middle of an accident while doing genetic research. She'd developed a machine that could transport malignant cells from a body; this would work wonders with things like cancer exploration. One day, she ended up inside her machine while an albino eagle was also inside. When she came out of the hospital, she found she'd been genetically fused with the eagle. The first day I saw her fly—literally fly from the nest—I nearly cried. Okay, I did cry. When she came of age, she received her silver javelin, the one that gives her access to lightning. That's my girl.

Left: Sarah by Silver Jow; Right: Sarah by Mike Hamlett
My second little girl (not sure I can call her little since she's all grown up) is Sarah. Like Brandon, she's my "earthy-crunchy" child, someone who likes playing with clay, and is really down-to-earth in more ways than one. When she was old enough to understand certain things, she decided to become Wiccan, something I highly encouraged since I thought it would give her perspective. Not sure where she gets her red hair from, but she has that fiery spirit to go along with it. Of all my kids, she's the most artistic, making pottery and sculpting. A precocious child, she didn't have any problem speaking her mind. That's probably why she and Aleta get along so well.

At that special age girls get when they start pulling away from their father, I realized she needed to be able to protect herself, so I gave her a ring that lets her manipulate the four elements: earth, fire, air, and water. I didn't want her to get ahead of herself, so she can't actually create those things, only manipulate them. Merging her Wiccan beliefs with her understanding of the ring, she's actually quite a powerful young woman. But, if she's not careful, she could lose control, and that wouldn't be something I'd like to see.

I'm as proud as any father could be with my kids. They have their idiosyncrasies, as all kids do, but I raised them pretty well (or, at least I think I did). They do grow up fast, though.

If you'd like to read more about them, their stories are on Amazon.

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