Here's to twelve years...when my BFF agreed lawfully to be my children's other parent. When he adopted them.
It sounded so cool when we first started discussing it, after their dad passed. It was a relief to consider sharing the load. What a deed! But then as July 25 drew closer, I started questioning my decision. I'd already given up a lot when I thought about our family life, being a single parent for so long and protecting the four of us from the scary outside. My faith in my own judgement was a bit shaky. Did I really want to formally ask Shawn to share in the responsibilities (let's face it, that part is easy) and the rights as the other parent? What if something happened to the two of us? Would I have to negotiate with him about MY kids? What if I got over him and they kept loving him? I was getting fairly comfortable with calling all the shots, doing things my way, since 1994. After all, I knew that I knew what was best for us. And after one meditative trip around the block, I realized this was best for us. Shawn Steil, father. Kate - Matt - Joe, adopted.
It's only recently that I realize the risks he assumed that day. It was official. He was dad. There was no getting out of it. They had new birth certificates. None of that spooked him. He changed his will. They changed his perspective. There is beauty in intentional love.
He taught them how to make pinewood derbies, how to throw a softball, how to disagree without being disagreeable. How to drive, how to dance, how to treat a lady. He taught them all the things I never could, because he gave them things I don't have. And they took to him like the super human beings I knew them to be. They provided him an unconditional love that quickly prompted him to refer to them as his "Irish triplets" with a smile so satisfying that even now, with all of the kids well into their twenties and far from home, makes me so completely happy.
Happy Anniversary to four favorite people on the planet.