Happy Father’s Day

21 Jun

Today is Father’s Day, and even though I’m running the risk of being a complete blubbering idiot by the time I finish writing this, I’ve got a 2 stories I want to share. I think that they are stories that need to be told, because sometimes we forget to tell the stories to people that need to hear them. And because I’m not big on being mushy or all sentimental, and I don’t say things half as well as I write them, here goes.

My parents met in high school. They were inseparable, they did everything together. My grandparents thought of my father like the son they never had. They got married right out of high school went to college where they shared a tiny little trailer, where they thought they would live happily ever after. After about 7 years, I came along. Then one day, happily ever after came to a screeching halt. My father came home one day and told my mother that he was leaving her. For another man. He was gay. The man that my mother had known, for what must’ve been forever, decided that he’d been lying to himself or some other ridiculous excuse for needing to “find yourself”, and promptly divorced my mother. My mom was heartbroken, but she decided that she would not let this man ruin my life, or hers. After a few months of fruitless dating, she met a man who swept her off her feet. It was truly love at first sight. The one hitch was of course me. What man in his 20’s wants to be saddled with a child, especially not his own? This one did. He decided that my mom needed a husband, and I needed a dad. They went to court and this man adopted me (all it took for my real father to walk away was a promise of not collecting any more child support).

That man, my dad, my real father, is the only father I’ve ever known. Never, not once, has he made me feel like I wasn’t his. Never, not once, has he treated me like I was anything other than his blood. I don’t remember my biological father, nor has he ever been in contact with me. But this isn’t about him, or what he didn’t do. This is about my dad, and what he did do. He made me his own, and even though he can be arrogant, brash, and as easy to love as a porcupine, he is the kindest, biggest hearted man I know, and I love him with all my heart. He is my dad, even though our blood isn’t the same.

***

I’d been dating my ex-husband for about 5 months when I found I was pregnant with twins. I was 19. Everyone around us said we had to get married, that’s the “responsible” thing to do. We got married, even though neither one of was sure that we should. We drove each other crazy, if there was a button to push, we pushed it for each other. We were married for 5 years, and it was a hard, hard 5 years. We separated and then got back together at least a dozen times in those 5 years. I’d like to think we tried to make it work, but we were like oil and water. We truly brought out the worst in each other. The last time we had been separated for about 3 weeks when I met Chris. He was funny, charming, understanding, and he was crazy about me. Everything my husband wasn’t. Chris treated me in a way that I’d never been treated by anyone. He never yelled at me in anger, he never raised his fist in frustration, he showed me how much better my life could be, how much better my children’s lives could be, without the seemingly never ending cycle of violence. I knew that with or without this man, it was over with my husband. If I wanted to break the cycle of violence forever, I had to end our marriage. It got really ugly, the only thing uglier than our marriage was our divorce.

Chris and I developed more than just a relationship, we became best friends. It seemed that in each other, we’d found the missing pieces of ourselves. We completed each other’s sentences, answered each other’s questions before they were asked, we were the perfect pair. The only problem was, he was in college in South Carolina, I lived in Maine. We did the long distance dating thing for 2 long years. I desperately wanted to leave here and start my life again, but part of the divorce agreement said that I had to stay here to retain full custody of my children, and as much as I loved Chris, I would never choose anyone over my children. Chris decided that was fine, he’d just have to start over in Maine. He left college, his family, his whole life and moved to be with me. His relationship with the kids was rocky at best for awhile, but he never gave up. He knew that they need a full-time dad, and love him or hate him, he wasn’t walking away. We lived together for about a year when he asked the kids if it would be ok if he married me. They said yes, I said yes, and we got married on January 1, 2007. There are still days that one of them may say, “you’re not my dad!” and Chris will sigh and say, “you’re right I’m not, but I wish I was. And I love you like I am.

So for the dad that chose me, and the dad that chose my kids, Happy Father’s Day. You are the best men I know, and I know I don’t say it enough, I can’t ever say it enough. Thank you.

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