When I met my husband six years ago, it was – as they say – love at first sight. I was a single mother of two adolescent daughters, and he was a single father to one. His girl was the same age as my oldest, who was about to turn 14.
If you know anything about teenage girls, you know about fourteen. Brutal on both child and parent….fourteen is parental boot camp.
While we were dating, my Beloved swept me off my feet with romance – but really wowed me with his fathering abilities. His daughter was his heart….and because she was – he melted mine. He was so committed to her and to the job at hand – being the best dad he could be.
A little over a year later, he and I took “love at first sight” to “I thee wed”. With our vows, he went above and beyond in assuming the daily fathering duties of his new wife’s daughters. The carpooling, trips to the dentist’s office, and buying the school supplies. This previously single father of an only child tripled his “dad-ness” factor practically overnight.
He is the bravest man I know.
The adjustment was not easy or seamless. All three daughters lived with us in our “blended” family (which at times was more of a pureeing than a blending). After all, our daughters hadn’t fallen in love with one another; they were at the mercy my husband and I – and our commitment.
If parenting teenagers is walking through a minefield, step-parenting is navigating a minefield during a hurricane while under nuclear attack, without even having had the benefit of boot camp. It’s intense.
Yet he stayed present, committed to the job….
He has been through fourteen three times over now. Our daughters, now 17, 19 and 20, still all live at home. Our little pureed family is strong because my husband is strong, and committed to the job.
Through the usual growing pains of our daughters’ having boyfriends, breakups and broken hearts (and yet more boyfriends) – he offers advice and more importantly, sets the bar for how they should expect to be treated by the way he treats me. Through graduations and awards, he lets them all know he is proud. He has sat through three times more middle school band concerts, chorus performances and class plays than he ever imagined when he was the father of one child.
He doesn’t flinch when buying Midol, knows what time of the month to bring home extra chocolate and doles out the best hugs in the household. He knows all the little things that make the girls unique…his daughter, who is still his heart, and both of mine, whom have come to love him deeply.
And he makes me a better mother, because I know that he and I don’t just ‘present a united front’ to the girls. We are united.
The bravest man I know.
To my husband, you are truly, the most amazing husband and father in the world. The girls love you, and I love you. Happy Father’s Day!