Hi, my name is Josh and I am a father.
I knew I wanted children for as far back as I could remember. People used to think I was weird in High School when I would talk about the kids I would have. I had the name Alexander Thomas picked out as the name of my son when I was 14 years old.
Yes he is named after Alexander the Great and he is fine with that.
I never considered that I would be a stepfather before I became a biological father. If you had asked 18 year old Josh if he wanted to be a step father he would have said fuck no! My step monster was one of the villains of my life and the man I considered my step father for many years dropped us like a hot potato and spent the rest of his life ignoring his biological son, my baby brother. It’s not that I was against the idea of other people’s children. It was just that I was convinced it was impossible for Step Parents to love their step children as much as their own biological children.
I never said I wasn’t a dumbass.
When I met Karen I did not know she was mother to three children. But it did not take long for me to learn all about Joshua, Stephen, and Beth. They were Karen’s entire world and the only reason she had stuck it out for so many years with her husband. I was not put off by the three children but I was not ready for what was about to happen either.
To be fair I doubt anyone could have been.
Karen and I started out as friends actually we started out hating one another. I will be telling his story soon but not today. Eventually we became friends, she was dating this jackass who worked the same shift as we did and I was dating he girl I would become engaged to and then unengaged to in quick succession. We hung out with mutual friends and had a really good time together.
After my engagement was broken I started asking Karen out on a pretty regular basis. She said no every time but like the smitten puppy I was I continued to nip at her heels. Eventually she agreed to go on a “Friend Date” with me. We went and saw the first Toy Story (yes kids I am that old) and had a really good time. After that we started going to out for meals pretty regularly. Roughly two weeks later I began to meet her kids.
It was love at first sight.
The first year of my relationship with Karen was hard, really fucking hard. There were only two things that made it worth it, but to be fair they are still the most important things in my life. I loved Karen with all of my heart, and those children were my world.
That has not changed.
I had to learn a lot of things in a very short period of time in that year. To be fair I had a bit of a leg up on brand new parents. In my early years I was one of the primary caregivers for my middle brother Scotty and for a short period of time I did a lot to help take care of my baby brother Nick. Not bragging about this … but I do relish those memories especially considering how thing have turned out between Scotty and I.
I was scared every day for the first year but I was not without experience to fall back on. Also when I ran into a situation which I had no idea how to even begin handling I had Karen to turn too, she was and still is the best parent I have ever known.
The biggest problem I had was Karen’s estranged husband. The reason they were not yet divorced will be discussed in another entry.
Eugene was a problem. As much as he did not want to be married to Karen and as much as he did not want to be the primary caregiver to the kids he also did not want ANYBODY else raising them. I remember one phone conversation Karen had with him I the middle of the night when he called crying ad sobbing begging her to never let them call another man “Dad”. It was pathetic.
Those children wanted him to be their dad. They loved him and they did not blame him for the disintegration of their family even though he was the one who cheated on their mother. All he had to do was make a small effort and they would have remained devoted to him.
In case you can’t guess that did not happen.
He went long stretches when he did not visit them or contact them. He talked down to them. He spent more time trying to cram his new religion down their throats then he did just enjoying the time he had with them. We always let him stay at our house when he visited, sometimes we even got a hotel room so he could have some alone time. We never denied him a single visit with the kids. And when he didn’t pay a dime n child support for two years because he wouldn’t get a job we never pressed him.
Also, we never once talked bad about him in front of the kids.
Eugene fucked up his relationship with the kids. Karen and I never sabotaged him, if anything we tried to help by explaining to the kids that things are sometimes complicated and that their father did in fact love them. The kids eventually reached their own conclusions about how they felt concerning their father. I know it was hard for them and as I talk about the kids individually I am going to try and touch on why they ALL eventually parted with their father to one degree or another. I feel bad for Eugene and I wish for the kids sake he had done a better job, but for me only one thing matters.
They all call me Dad.