Peng's first aeroplane trip. How times have changed. Gaun has just got off the phone with her as she left for the airport and asked if she had her papers. "Mum", was the exclamation, "I have everything on my phone. You are very ancient" Love modern kids.
My stepdaughter Peng is flying back from university in Chiang Mai this afternoon for a ten-day holiday, and at the same time a Facebook 'memory' popped up with some photos of Peng in earlier times. It got me thinking about the relationships we fall into as an unasked for addition to a Thai family beyond our connection with a new partner. I have been widely corresponding with westerners both inside and outside Thailand for years and there are the obvious range of outcomes in play, some good and some not so much. Nothing special or unusual as that would apply in any situation worldwide.
I guess the potential for strain or conflict might be more where the new 'father' being a non-Thai and can bring with him a very different set of beliefs and attitudes. I have stepped into the role of step-dad a couple of times before and have been lucky to get along pretty well with the kids I have involved with. I had a comment only yesterday from one of my ex-stepdaughters, and I left her mother over twenty years ago! I think that the difference is in a Thai scenario that suddenly arriving as not only a new 'dad' but also as one of those odd and maybe slightly intimidating farang must add a little extra tension or uncertainty to a new relationship with children (?)
In my current situation, I have been as lucky with my stepdaughter as I have with the entire family. A slow start has grown into a real solid relationship and I find myself actually excited to have Peng home today. She has grown in confidence and connection with me over the years and I know we have a life-long commitment, as I do with her mum. Welcome home Peng.
Super close to her grandma. The family has been told not to tell her Peng is coming home so that it's a surprise.
And no, she didn't get to keep one
Thank you for reading.