Found on facebook & privately emailed to me by a good friend (someone who is, like me, not fond of the whole status repost culture):
“A DADDY isn’t defined as the man who makes the child, but rather the man who extends his hands and time to help with the child’s raising and his heart to love the child through anything!!!! BLOOD doesn’t always make you a DADDY. Being a DADDY comes from the heart… any fool can make a baby, it takes a man to raise a child!”
So in my relationship with my (truly remarkable) partner, I think that buying our house is kind of analogous to getting married. Hitched up. We are hitched, together, to our mortgage, to our wet basement, to our attic that has piles of potential. To our one bathroom, and hand-me-down curtains, and shelves and shelves of books.
And he is genuinely a swell stand-in dad. We’re still kind of rogered up over semantics. Pearl, in her highly literal stage of development, has opted not to call him dad, but that’s probably better. While he would absolutely stand for it, he probably prefers the more literal conception of his relationship to Pearl, too. She calls him his first name, and occasionally “my dad.”
But he’s just so native as a father. He knows and thinks to do and say stuff that just doesn’t occur to me. Probably, without him, Child’s manners would be much worse. She’s totally a sweet kid, but she’s also an only kid, so the world starting and stopping at her whim is an idea to which she is pleasantly accustomed. Fella demands that she say please and thank you, and his insistence spurs my participation.
Child tells him she loves him, and he says it back. They hug and cuddle and play. She watches him play video games, and he helps her learn stuff. They are sweet together.
Fella and I are people who’ve had our share of inconsiderate, inconsistent, unpleasant friends, lovers, partners. As such, we’ve been really guarded in the development of our relationship. My mother would probably cite this guardedness as the reason we are not married, but we agree (mostly) that at this point, marriage is (mostly) unnecessary. It’s not like we’d file our taxes together anyhow.
Since we bought the house, we have both relaxed somewhat. I have felt more free to express grumpiness. He has stopped putting down the toilet seat. He is more free and liberal with spending his time as he wishes.
I have taken greater pride and effort in the tidiness of our abode, because I feel like it’s going to be mine for a little longer than usual. My totally unjustified, and usually minor, sense that he is in some way disloyal to me has gone away. He seems to have stopped believing that I will just disappear one day, too. We talk about tomorrow, five, and ten years. Our next house, retirement, etc etc.
His brother’s wife and their kid think of Child as a cousin and me as an aunt. I find myself thinking of his folks as in-laws, and it certainly felt that way when they came over for dinner last night. Child was a very responsible and conscientious older cousin. His mom and dad think our house is neat, and they seemed to be proud. I hope they are.
Of course there’s still, and always, the possibility that we’ll break up. It seems less like a foregone conclusion now. And whenever we joke about it, Child gets up in arms. She says, “But I don’t want you to break up!” She loves her life, our house, and her new school. She is becoming her own person and I am proud of her, of my partner, of our life.