I met my husband on a dating app. I know, it seems crazy but I was totally digging his 12 pack. That’s so superficial but I couldn’t help myself. His first question was also about what my favorite ice cream was and who wouldn’t be sucked in by someone that loves ice cream enough to make it his first point of conversation? It was the 24th of July when he asked me to breakfast, but it wasn’t just me he was meeting.
Let’s back up a little bit. I was a single mom at the time with a little man. He had just turned 2 and you know what they say about those 2’s. I had been dating for a little while and I was always upfront about my life and my son. I never wanted anyone to get caught off guard or feel like I tricked them. Raising a child is scary and I think that sometimes that can be the problem with single parents. All to often we find ourselves offended when people choose to opt out of a relationship because we have children and they aren’t ready for that level of commitment. The truth is that it’s about as fair to expect those that you date to want to become an instant parent as it is for them to expect you to give up your child to be with them. I lost a lot of relationships. It wasn’t necessarily me that men weren’t looking for but rather my situation that they weren’t interested in. I had decided to stop dating for a little while when I went on my last first date accompanied by my mini me.
We met at the Black Bear Diner. If you haven’t been there, stop reading and go now. Assuming that you’ve already been or that my enthralling love story has you hooked and you are still currently reading can I just tell you that I was nervous?? Like, butterfly stomach and sweaty armpit marks kind of nervous. I was busy trying to convince my son not to close the sunroof while his head was sticking out of it when the world entered slow motion. Go ahead, laugh, it’s cheesy, but guys….he was seriously attractive. I’m sure I stuttered when I introduced myself and who knew if this was going anywhere, but I was excited to find out if it was!
My son tried to sabotage me. I know he did. He spent the entire time screaming to open one of those jelly packs that they have on the table. My date was dodging silverware and picking things up off of the floor in between what seemed like every breath he took. Little man didn’t eat his breakfast, which I’m sure my date was super thrilled about since he paid for it. We cut the breakfast short to go to the park where my poor date was ordered around by this tiny human to push him on the swing, sit down on the see-saw and go down the very small slides, made for very small people. Let’s just say it was a tight squeeze for him.
I never expected a call after that date ended and while I was sad I just told myself that I didn’t want someone around that didn’t want my son too. We were a package deal. I guess since I’ve already told you the spoiler, you now know that he called. During the time that we were dating I was usually always on cloud nine but I had to wonder if he really was too. You see, dating me was different than dating other girls.It was complicated and required a lot of planning in advance. I couldn’t go out to the 10:45 PM showing of World War Z because I had a son that would be sleeping by then, hopefully. I wasn’t the girl that could pick up and take that last minute trip to Moab because traveling with a little one was much more difficult then going alone. Staying out late to go bowling with the sweet music and disco lights wasn’t an option because it doesn’t ever start until 10 PM. I started to wonder if I was taking his life away from him. Was it fair that just because we clicked that he had to give up all of benefits that the single life has to offer? No, it wasn’t. I decided to bring up my concerns.
“So, babe? I was thinking, are you sure that you want to do this? I mean, be with me? There are so many girls out there and while I really care about you, I just don’t want to take away your freed….”
I was cut off. He quickly responded by saying, “We are not breaking up, what would you like for dinner tonight?”
With no rebuttal I gratefully excepted that someone loved me. That they openly understood, or at least thought they understood the circumstances they were entering into and they still wanted to stay. That was something that I wasn’t used to.
We’re now married and OUR son is 4 and 1/2. We also had a honeymoon baby, woohoo for that, and he is 1 year old. They are both growing so fast and life has been nothing but eventful for the good and the bad. Sometimes our oldest yells at my husband, we lose hours of sleep to him constantly waking us up because he’s sleep walking and yes, it takes us an hour sometimes to convince him to eat his dinner. Do I get nervous that the hard times are just going to keep on coming as he gets older? Do I worry about the time that he first says “You’re not my dad!”? The answer is a nice resounding yes. But you wanna know what makes me feel better? He chose US. He chose to read books to our little every night instead of watching late night movies with his friends. He chose sleepless nights, he maybe just didn’t know how many there would be. He chose a little bit tighter budget. He chose to have less wiggle room to travel and less 1:00 AM trips to IHOP for pancakes. He chose to have a little less alone time and a little more family time. He chose the good and the bad. He chose the difficult and the easy.
When you get pregnant you do so without knowing what little quirks will come with your baby and you have to wait and see what attitude they bring to earth with them. You love your child, and because they are forever yours you learn to work with and around those little parts of them that may make things difficult but also make them who they are. In our situation, my husband knew that my babe was stubborn. He knew that he cried over the idea that he may have stepped on an ant and killed it and just about everything else. He had a heads up that he was a picky eater and that he had a hard time listening, but he still decided that he wanted us.
People ask us all of the time what it’s like to be in a mixed family and we have the same answer for everyone. We aren’t a step family. We are just a family. We have all of the problems that you would expect any family to have but we also have more love than I ever could have imagined. Will the problems of having 4 parents raising 1 child arise? I’m sure they will, but we’ve chosen to make peace and our child’s happiness our number one priority. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the importance of our sons birth Father in his life but we choose not to use the terms REAL father and STEP father. How much would we be discounting the numerous thoughts and prayers that went into his choice of becoming an instant parent if we chose to except that he wasn’t the REAL father?
For those that have a healthy relationship with a step parent whether you are married to them or parented by them you know what I mean when I say that there is no greater love. There are no words for the love that I see radiating from my husband when OUR son scores a goal in soccer. I couldn’t possibly explain what happens inside of me when I see them rocking out to the Pokemon theme song, or fighting bad guys. OUR son needed someone that would play in the dirt, pick up bugs, talk about superheros and laugh at the unexpected burp with him. He needed him just as much as I did and how blessed we are that he decided that we were his and he was ours.