A year ago, I entered a relationship with a single dad. So, a year ago, I tentatively, scared, and slowly, entered a relationship with his children. Unlike him and the children’s mom, I did not have the 9 months of planning, the waiting, the knowing about their arrival. I one day made a decision to go on a date with a single parent and one day made a decision to fall in love with that single parent.
I have tried to be as careful as I could be about overstepping in the kids’ lives. They have two separate, involved. In an early relationship, I do not think it fair to build attachments in case the relationship ends. Still, my refrigerator is getting harder to see with their artwork. My Pinterest boards are becoming more and more kid-focused.
As a ‘bonus adult’ of a 5 and 2-year-old, there are already a lot of firsts I have missed. I won’t have memories of first words, first steps, first teeth. We have started early; early enough for years of first days of school, first loves, first sleepover, first individually picked hobby. We had our first trip to dinner and ice cream; first time we made pizza together and I shaped the pepperoni into their initials; first Pixar movie together on the couch in their father’s house.
Recently, I was asked to attend one of their birthday parties for the first time. That first is my favorite first. Maybe because it is a first unique to us. Not everyone gets to celebrate the birth of a small human because they were invited instead of obligated. Maybe because when a small human invites you to something as special as their birthday, you know that you too are special.
I didn’t know that this first was going to hit me the way it did. I felt it deeply in my entire body. Like my insides had turned into bathtub water. I have known for years that the way to a person’s heart is to treat their children well. What I didn’t know is that eventually, someone’s children would be forming pathways to my own heart as well.
Previously published on “A Parent Is Born”, a Medium publication.
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Photo credit: istockphoto.com