I was a single mother for over three years when I met Sean. In the time since my divorce I had dated, and even one or two of those relationships had been serious, but above any relationship I would have with someone was the relationship that I had with my child. Any time I would feel like things were getting serious with someone, I just would have this nagging feeling that I didn’t know how they would really fit into the life Nate and I had cultivated together. I didn’t introduce Nate to just anyone and even of those couple that met him, only one met him as someone I was dating. I was always very upfront about how my child would come first and if someone didn’t like that, they could bounce. Also if they DID meet my child and I didn’t feel good about the vibes, then I wouldn’t be able to continue moving forward.
Sean was the only person who not only didn’t seem offended by that but seemed to deeply respect me for it. The more that we talked, I found out that he grew up with a stepfather that he had a very contentious relationship with, and he vowed to himself if he was ever in a similar situation that he would do things differently. He took that situation just as seriously as I did and while there were many things that softened my heart to him, that was the main thing that really made me go all in.
Sean met Nate when Nate was six years old. I still remember that meeting so distinctly. They played Legos together and something told me that this relationship, with this particular human, would be good for not just me but for Nate too. My aunt who raised me had just recently passed away, and she and Nate were so close. Nate was having a hard time with her death and Sean’s gentle way with him had him smiling and laughing in a way that he hadn’t in weeks.
Sean always did it just right; he was kind and friendly to Nate and genuinely interested in him, but he didn’t press or push in a way that was phony or off-putting. We were in a long-distance relationship with Sean living in Austin and Nate and I in Charlotte for the first nearly two years we dated. Whenever he would come visit, seeing both of them light up when they were together was a beautiful thing. Sean would take the time to write Nate letters and send them to him, letters that Nate still had to this day because he treasures them. When the time that Sean knew he wanted to ask me to marry him because we had discussed that being our next step, he made sure to call Nate and talk to him about it and make sure it was good with him. Nate was over the moon and it was more than good with him.
Nate is now turning fourteen in a little over a month. Sean has been in his life for over half of it and he says he doesn’t really remember a life without him in it. Their bond has only grown stronger and closer as Nate has gotten older. I know a lot of the self-assurance and confidence that Nate has in himself as a person is due to the love and guidance and caring that he has experienced from Sean over the years. Nate has said that Sean is the standard for the kind of person, the kind of man, that he wants to become.
Before I gave birth to Ezra and Micah and we were having fertility issues and I miscarried several times, people would make tactless comments about Sean ‘becoming’ a father and he would always adamantly tell people he was already a father and he would be regardless if we had any more children or not.
We were given the gift of having two more sweet, wild, beautiful children, and it has been one of my greatest joys to watch Sean parent from the beginning of a child’s life. The same patience and light that he always has poured into Nate is now also poured into Ezra and Micah. He is simply someone who was born for fatherhood in every way; when it’s hard, when it’s funny, when it’s sad, when it’s joy.
The universe knew what it was doing when it allowed my heart to see all of the possibilities when I saw a tiny shy six year old and a sweet and patient man play with Legos. My life was never the same after that in the most exquisite way. There isn’t a day that I am not grateful for the human Sean is, but the thing that I am the most proud of him for is the father that he is.