I met my incredible wife, about 7 years ago. The attraction to each other was powerful, and there were fireworks. We laughed every moment we spent together. We were carefree and very quickly became closely connected.
She is a devoted mother. At that time, the girls were ages 3 and 7. She doted over them, they were her world, and her number one job was to keep them happy, healthy, and safe. So these three, they were a package deal. All or nothing, and I knew I would need to share the same passion for their well being if this was ever going to go any further.
So the day came. Anxiously, I stood on the doorstep of their home that day. My mind was racing with questions: What are they going to think of me? What do I even know about young girls? What am I going to say? Will they accept me? Am I ready for this? I have no clue what I am doing, so what am I doing here? Chest pounding, I rang the doorbell. The door pulled away, beaming smiles, and big, innocent brown eyes looked up at me.
My heart was full as I met my beautiful new family.
Slowly, we became one unit. My wife trusted me with her babies and these young girls had me wrapped around their fingers. Whatever I could do to make sure that they had everything they wanted, I did. However, to become a strong father figure to these girls I had to gain their respect. I came in from the outside, a stranger, so in order to gain their respect, I treated them as real people, and afforded them a safe place to voice their opinions. Too, I was consistently expressing my love to them and their mother through actions – not just words. And, it meant following through on what I promised to do. It takes tremendous effort raising these young girls so that they grow up to be powerful, independent young women. The external forces of peer pressure, and misguided societal norms, threaten to derail these efforts daily. The internal pressure must always be more powerful, more resilient, and must persevere.
We don’t see each other as separate in any way. The fact that I am not their biological father makes no difference to any of us. They have such a healthy view of blended families – the more love the better.
Looking back, I realize that becoming a father was never something I thought much about. It wasn’t something in my ‘life plan’. It was however, meant to be, and as a result, I have grown 10-fold as a man. I have learned to be patient - patient with myself and, ultimately, patient for the results. It can be a daunting task at times, but so worth it.
The joy in watching them grow is breathtaking. Physically, mentally and emotionally, they are powerhouses. They give of themselves freely, but are mindful as to whom they choose to spend their time with. They are driven to succeed, yet pull others among with them rather than trample them over.
They make my wife and I proud every day.