My mom remarried when I was about 14. She'd been dating Mitch for a while, and I have to be honest and say I wasn't a fan at first. But hey, I was a pissed-off teenager, unhappy that my parents divorced (despite the fact that they were both happier afterwards). I think back to it now and I realize that I was pretty horrid to him -- made fun of his voice, bit his head off when he tried to help me with my German homework.
Once I got past my teenage years, and my angry early 20's rebellion years, I started to see why Mitch is so good for my mom. He has an amazing mellowing effect on her. If you know my mom, you know she can be, well, high-strung. She has a hot temper (like me!) and loves to argue (like me!). But with Mitch...it's like he brings out this wonderful softness in her. I can honestly say that she's not the woman I grew up with, and in many ways, I'm thankful for that.
Mitch doesn't have any kids of his own, and for a long time I think he was afraid to try and get close to me. In his defense, trying to get close to the 22 year old me was like trying to get close to a deranged pit bull...so, no hard feelings, dude. But since I settled down with Charlie, and especially since we had Austin, we're getting closer. We hug, which may not seem like a big deal, but Mitch is not a really "huggy" guy. I don't immediately ask for Mom when he answers the phone. We have really good conversations while Mom and Charlie talk about (snore) health care management. We make each other laugh. And most importantly, he's a VERY big part of Austin's life.
Mitch has influenced my life a lot more than he probably knows. It was with his help that my mom and I worked through a lot of our baggage and were able to be friends again. That alone makes him worth his weight in gold.
My Golden Stepdad, Attorney at Law -- with Austin, 3.23.08
Of course, Mitch could never replace my "real" dad, and he's never tried. My dad is irreplaceable, and I love him more than words can say. He's living history, he's hilarious, and he makes the best goddamn rum and tonic you'll ever have.
Daddy, Austin and Me -- 3.23.08
These two men showed me what fathers are supposed to be, and supposed to do. Without them, I wouldn't have found the most important father I know -- Charlie.
Seeing Charlie with our son makes me feel like the Grinch, at the end of his story, when his heart grows and grows and grows until it bursts out of the frame. People told me that when you have a child, you're amazed by how much love you can feel for that tiny person. What's amazed me more is how much I can love the two of them, together. I'm confident that Austin will grow into a wonderful, caring, and probably hilarious man who can change the oil in a car, make pancakes, and write a love letter that will melt a woman's heart. All those things, Charlie will give to him, gifts to steer him through life.
Austin & Charlie - 12.27.08
To all the dads out there - HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!