“I Don’t Love My Step-Dad, He Has Bald Hair”

On November 6th 2013, I met a man. He was a nice man, a police officer to be exact, and we hit it off right away. Initially I wasn’t certain I was ready for a relationship at all – but a kidney infection that left me hospitalised for 5 days just before the Christmas that year showed me that this man was a keeper. At least I thought so. After a pretty turbulent year, he left me. Deep joys.

Three and a half years later, two months after leaving “The Evil Ex” (unlike Ramona Flowers, I only have one Evil Ex, not 7, and nobody has to defeat him. Miss the reference? Scott Pilgrim vs The World), I was sitting at home. Deep in thought, I remembered the contact I’d had with Bryan since the break up. While we had fought and argued and generally been worse than we were together, I missed him. One little email wouldn’t hurt, right?

That was 13 months ago. We had a date on 29th March 2018 and he moved in last August.

I love Bryan for many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that he has always been supportive of everything. Of me, of Jack…whenever there was an obstacle he had a can-do attitude. Ex husband sends social worker? We can do this. Jack might need assessed for ADHD? We can do this. Hip needs more surgery? Fine, we can do it!

When Bryan first began coming around again after we got back together, he bonded with Jack over their mutual love of gaming. They would sit together on the sofa and play Little Big Planet, or Lego Incredibles for hours. Now, it’s Super Smash Brothers.

Unlike the title of this post, Jack LOVES Bryan, he just pretends he doesn’t to wind Bryan up. It’s quite hilarious. When Bryan comes home from work, Jack accosts him and wants to climb him, cuddle him, sit with him and just be with him. But more than this, Bryan loves Jack too.

I often say about special needs parenting is that it isn’t a life I chose. I woke up to this. I gave birth to a healthy, ‘normal’ baby. As the years have gone by, we have adjusted to autism and it’s presence in our lives. But I would never have chosen to go through all the hurt and the heartache.

Bryan did. He knew from the first time we were together that Jack had the potential to be violent, aggressive, emotional and explosive. But he didn’t let it bother him. He chose to be my partner, and he chose to be Jack’s step-parent. We have never asked Jack to refer to Bryan as his step-dad, he did this on his own. I imagine he has heard it said at school.

You’ll have heard the saying “Anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad”. It also takes a special kind of person to raise someone else’s child. And in my opinion, it takes a FUCKING HERO to raise someone else’s autistic child. Bryan is our hero.

I saw the true extent of his awesomeness last year when I was recovering from my surgery. Bryan put leave in for the op pretty much as soon as we went official, and he had Jack at home while I was in hospital. They went to the pictures, they came to visit me – honestly they had a fabulous time, even if they managed to spend £45 going to see The Incredibles 2 at the pictures, little weirdos.

Myself and Jack are truly privileged to have such a wonderful man to complete our family, and I love him to the ends of the earth.

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