I didn’t really expect to end up a family man. I’d always been somewhat ambivalent about raising kids. I knew I didn’t want biological children — my family has enough inheritable health issues I didn’t want to pass on, and I’ve never felt a biological imperative to pass on my genetics. I’d talked about adopting “one day,” but with no concrete plans for it.
I ended 2016 in a bad spot. I left a toxic long-term relationship, moved six hours south to move back in with my family with pretty much nothing more than my car, the clothes on my back, and a computer, and a ton of debt hanging over my head. Shortly after that, I got hit with a major health crisis that kept me from working.
So I started reconnecting with people I’d gone to high school with, through Facebook and other social media.
Angela and I were in the same grade in middle school and high school and probably had a few classes together. I don’t really know. We’re both introverts and mostly kept to ourselves in school — outside of class, I mostly buried my head in a book.
I swear I danced with her at one of the school dances after our dates ditched us, but Angela doesn’t remember this. I did have more classes with her best friend, so I knew Angela as “the redhead girl who hung out with Jamie Sue.”
After school, she ended up in Jacksonville and Atlanta. I ended up in Birmingham for college and later Huntsville. In our early 30s, by some quirk of fate, we both ended up back in the area of our home town, both leaving toxic relationships, both hurt and looking to heal.
In March 2017, we started talking online. We met up for the first time since we were children in April. I was hooked from the moment I saw her, although I wouldn’t admit it to myself — or to her — for several months.
She just felt right, in a way no other person ever has. In every other relationship I’ve been in, there has been this nagging anxiety, this looming question of “Is this really what I want?” — with Angela, there was and always has been only calming certainty, the answer “Yes.”
I’ve always jumped into relationships quickly, but this one developed slowly. After April, it was more than a month before we saw each other again. And another few weeks after that. But slowly, things accelerated and we started seeing more and more of each other.
In August, we admitted we loved each other.
In September, I met the kids.
Bubba, Baby, Monster
I was so nervous, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my ribs on the drive over. What if the kids didn’t like me?
There really wasn’t any reason to be nervous, though. Baby connected with me immediately, and crawled into my lap to watch cartoons. Monster was shy and unsure at first, but she opened up before I left. Bubba came out of his room for a few minutes, then went back to being a reclusive teenager.
I didn’t stay long the first time. Angela and I stepped outside for a hug and a kiss (we introduced me as “Momma’s friend” at first), but Baby followed us outside because she wanted to hug me before I left and told me she loved me.
A few weeks later, I made dinner for everyone (spinach lasagna rolls!). Angela asked the girls during bath time what they thought about me being Momma’s boyfriend. Monster piped up, “I go tell him?!” Angela said, “I think he already knows!” Cue an extremely excited Monster, wrapped in a towel, running into the living room to find me and breathlessly exclaim “Momma — you — boyfriend!”
Since then, we’ve celebrated birthdays for Monster and Bubba, and we’ve celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
In about three months, I’ve gone from mostly-single bachelor to future step dad of three. Some days it feels a little overwhelming, but never in a bad way. Mostly it just feels right. Soon, we’ll be starting 2018 together. All in all, 2017 has been a pretty awesome year, despite the state of the world, and I’ve got a lot of optimism and hope for 2018. I think it’s going to be a great one.
We aren’t a full-time family…yet. I spend most weekends with Angela and the kids, and the rest of my week with my folks. But full-time family is coming. One day, Baby asked Angela “Momma, when are you gonna marry Adam? This is taking too long.”
Here’s to my family.