About a boy… or Father’s Day part II

I never expected to date a man with kids.  It was never part of my life plan, and yet here I now am, a middle-aged woman, in love with a man with a  child who is only 5 months older than the eldest of my daughter’s two girls!  We joke that I became a parent way too early and he became one way too late, but the serendipitous silver lining is that these three little girls play together and love each other as if they’ve always been in each others lives…they bicker as sisters do, but they hug and laugh and share like best friends do, and when I got engaged on Christmas morning, they enjoyed very much the laughter that ensued when they discussed the change in their relationship status, that this 9-year-old in their life would become their “aunt and Mommy’s sister!”

There are times when his daughter is here that I have to bite my tongue, or simply and more easily I might add, go into another room, because I don’t want to overstep a line…he and his ex are very dissimilar to me in many ways in how they parent; their rules, their level of strictness, what they expect or don’t, and so I try not to insert too much of my parenting style into their parenting, but it’s hard…she’s in my house…There are other times when his daughter is here that I watch how he looks at her, how he teaches her things, how she looks to him and at him, how he helps her and guides her, and to watch him love his child warms my heart.  He is very affectionate and nurturing  to my granddaughters too…I’ve watched him teach them how to keep time behind a drum kit, how to bait a fishing hook, how to stand up on a boogie board, and most recently he taught the littlest one how to tie her shoes…and yet I sometimes feel something like a sadness, a profound sense of loss…the realization that if only he and I had met when we were young…I think how awesome it would have been to make a family with him, how wonderful it would have felt to be the woman who made him a father…

This man I love has no father, his father died when he was only 17, which would be tragic enough in itself but for the fact that he also lost his mother when he was only 15…when I think about how many times a week I need my parents, or talk to my dad, or ask him a question, or think of how he would have done something, or seek him out for advice or to confirm whether or not I am doing something right…I think about this man I love, who does not have that luxury.  He had to grow into his role as “man” with no role to model.  He has two brothers-in-law who are old enough to be his father, and has talked to me about how much they both have meant to him over the years, and helped him and guided him when he was so young and suddenly without parents, but I imagine it is not at all the same…not even close…I often want to ask him about his dad, but I know it makes him sad; what he liked about his father and what he didn’t, what he learned from him, and what he wished he had…I often wonder what his dad would think of this man I love, the man he grew up to be…would he be proud, would he have been a good grandpa to this other little girl now in my life, would he like me, would he think I was a good woman to his son?

I tried to buy a father’s day card for this man I love.  I went to four different stores during this month, I read dozens of cards and not one “said” anything at all like I would want to say to him…the ones that had great designs were ridiculously expensive and the ones that were cheap were ugly and written for a buffoon…Nothing expressed at all how I sometimes think about what it would have been like, to have loved him when we were young, to find out I was pregnant and to be excited, to plan a future and to create a human being out of nothing because two people fell in love, to wonder what he or she would look like, would its eyes be more my green than his blue, knowing both of us had eyes that change color with the seasons…what it would have been like to watch him comfort a crying infant, what it would have been like to watch him watch how the eyes dart around behind the lids while the baby deeply sleeps…all those thoughts I thought by myself when I was pregnant, and how beautiful it would have been to think those thoughts with somebody who loved me and I loved and who was anxiously awaiting this human whose very first breath would take us from Couple to Family…falling in love late in life has its perks, but this, above all else, is the drawback…we missed sharing a lot of beautiful dreams…I refer to him often as “the boy” not to be condescending, but because we are sometimes so in love that we do really feel like teenagers…but he is man who is a father and who does his very best to be a good one, and there is nothing boyish about that…



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