The rain was relentless in the early afternoon of July 5, 2005. Clarissa and I had started a new job that morning. I used this as an opportunity to do something kind for the beautiful girl I had just met.
I ran to her car to get the umbrella she had left behind. I found it and then noticed something that would change my life. A car seat. My naive mind almost talked myself into believing she had a nephew. No, she was a mother. She had a kid.
I’m from the suburbs. People like me were supposed to marry other kids from the suburbs. Me and my wife (who was supposed to have white parents like me) would buy a house in the suburbs. We would have 2 and a half kids. That’s what was supposed to happen.
I’m so grateful the Universe had other plans.
I met Reece 5 months later, a year and half into his life. He was a playful little boy and was as loving then as he is now. The day we met, we walked around the Camden aquarium often times holding hands. It was so natural. It was as if we both knew that something was happening and our lives would never be the same.
I knew that day how special Reece was. I would never let him go.
The days of holding his hand are long gone. I’m not sure when it happened, I wish I would have written down a list of those last things. Last bath, last piggy-back ride, last bed time story.
What I hold of Reece’s now is different. I hold respect for him and he does for me. I hold faith that he is going to be a good person and treat people with kindness. I hold a space in my heart for him. A space that seems to grow bigger without me even realizing it.
Mixed families, like ours, are much more common now. There are a lot more parents who have adopted as well as many more parents who have Foster children. I sometimes wonder if people think that parents in our situations love our adopted or stepchildren any differently than our “own” kids.
It isn’t the case. We love these kids with all of our heart.
I’m not Reece’s dad. He has a father and his father is a good man and a great friend. I’m Reece’s stepfather and I couldn’t be more proud of him and the relationship that we have created.
Happy Birthday Reece. I love you buddy.