So, now that we're all pretty clear on the poor fatherly role models I've had in my life, a lunatic food-nazi who contributed to half my dna, an across-the-board abuser who adopted me as his own only to decide that decision ended with the fact that I deemed my mother the only worthy parent to give me away during my first wedding ceremony, and a stepdad here and there that could never really make it past the peephole viewing of my closed-door to fathers, it might not be terribly shocking to realize that I never dreamed of growing up and getting married and sharing the experience of raising a child with a man.
My plan was to pick the guy sometime around my turning 25 and become a single mom, hopefully to one little girl. But, IFKAMH derailed that plan. Here was a guy with whom I was having a lengthy and involved relationship that didn't involve nightly or weekly shouting matches or objects thrown across a room or police. It's no wonder I deemed him to be the man I would love forever. This meant I also believed he would be a different kind of father from any I'd ever known, one of those involved fathers, the ones who are joyous and excited when their wives are pregnant and could think of few better ways to spend their free time than shoveling jars of mushy food into a gaping mouth or laying on the floor across from a baby and his tummy-time mat and taking countless pictures of every precious moment he was lucky enough to witness.
My mistake was thinking that someone, anyone who didn't make me want to cry in the fetal position was enough to be my partner in life and terrific enough to be a terrific father. IFKAMH did not take pregnancy the way I expected, the way I really thought he should have. While he did dutifully come with me to every appointment (and there were many, from one end of outskirt town of our spacious city to another...twins bump you to high-risk classification, you know), he didn't react with the same level of thrill I did. Not saying he was outwardly resentful or unhappy, but I could always sense some level of reservation with his demeanor.
Then, the boys (two boys...how very not in line with my original plan) were born and brought home. Still, nothing was obviously wrong, but I gladly took on most of the baby-related tasks of our life. It started with me getting up in the middle of the night every time someone was needed. At first, this was because I was desperately trying to succeed with breastfeeding and then because I was on maternity leave weeks after he had to return to work, but there was no doubt that I'd have to return to work full-time, too, so it never made sense that it continued to be an only-me thing, but I did it because I was just so happy to have my babies and have them healthy and perfect. I never felt he appreciated their existence in the same way.
It must have been hard for him to finally admit to me that heart-wrenching day in April of 2005 that he just wasn't sure this was what he wanted, "this" meaning the wife, the house, the family with children. As much as it seemed way too late for him to decide this, it turned out to be one of the best things he could have done for his wife and for his boys.
I struggled with whether or not I could ever love someone so completely again, giving my all with hope of a happy life. How could I ever trust my love again? Somehow I convinced myself that being alone for the rest of my life was not the life I wanted for myself, and it certainly wasn't the ideal life to model for my children. I needed to take the chance again if only it meant my boys might be able to witness a healthy, loving relationship between a husband and wife. And so, I signed up for dating.
In those first months of dating, I never would have believed that I'd find someone to win my heart, to truly win my heart in a way it wasn't won before, but it happened, and it happened so subtly that I couldn't even tell you when it happened. There are a lot of contributing factors, such as him not flinching when M and J began calling him "daddy", and probably most notably, when he embraced my pregnancy with Baby Angel so fully, so much the way I thought IFKAMH should have. NS was the man I'd thought I'd had and continually wished I'd had when it turned out I was wrong with IFKAMH. The thing is, I only know how great a dad he is because I had children with someone else first. Turns out there is a reason for everything in life, and we're fortunate if we can figure out the reasons for even a handful of everything.
To my Navy Sweetie, the man who loves me and appreciates my love and who is M and J's daddy, Happy Father's Day.