About nine years ago, and maybe a month, I met a little blonde boy who wasn’t quite 1 year old yet. He was wearing tiny yellow footie pajamas and playing with some blocks and a tractor on his living room floor. He didn’t even look up when I walked in.
I had just walked his mom home after our second date. Being the suave bachelor, I had a rule that we weren’t supposed to meet each other’s kids until things were serious. But, life gets messy and being a single parent is complicated, so this particular night it was just easier to have the sitter stay at the house. So, when we got back from dinner, there he was. I mean, seeing as he lived there and all.
I paid the sitter (because it seemed like the nice thing to do) and then the Mom and I sat on separate couches and chatted for a bit while he played on the floor between us. She made sure to officially introduce us, but clearly he was a lot more interested in the tractor. I don’t blame him. It was a pretty cool tractor.
After a bit, the Mom announced it was bedtime. He stood up, walked over with his arms wide, and gave me a hug. A real hug. A big squeezey number. The little dude snuggled right up on me like we’d known each other forever.
I patted him gently on his fuzzy little back and said, “Kiddo, I don’t think we’re supposed to be bonding yet, buddy.” But there I was, 15 minutes after meeting him, and I felt like he was already my kid.
As such… <drumroll>… I’m very happy to announce that as of about 11:20 am this morning, I have officially adopted the Danger Monkey. By all rights and legal standing, he is now my son.
No more writing “step-dad” on forms. No more explaining to well-meaning folks that I’m not his “real father.” Now, I’m just his Dad. Simple as that.
Other than those formalities, not much is going to change. He’s always called me Dad. As far as he can remember, I’ve always been around. And I’ve always treated him as my own. Because he is my own. I couldn’t love him any more than I already do. I couldn’t be any prouder of him.
So, in the end, legal status is important and I’m really glad that the State of Indiana, the IRS, and our insurance company now recognize me as his Dad. Which is nice.
But, you see, the thing is… him and me had that cleared up a long time ago.