He had a rugged, but kind, short-bearded face with laughing brown eyes and charm that wouldn’t quit. We came from similar marital backgrounds. We each knew what it was like to be in an abusive relationship, encumbered with alcoholic spouses, broken promises, and betrayal. We both shared the same desires, with honesty and trust at the top.
He waltzed away all traces of reservations in my heart. I felt he could be trusted. He treated me with respect. He took my breath away, loving me for me: tenderly, passionately, completely. He even—as they say in the movies—“made my toes curl.” Moreover, as much as he loved me, he loved my four children. And they loved him in return. That was the icing on any cake! There may not have been a lot of money floating around, but in our eyes, he proved himself worthy. We never had to compete for his attention. When his buddies told him that other fish were in the ocean (that didn’t include small guppies), he simple said, “Not like this one.”
When he asked me one day what my goals in life were, I couldn’t answer, turning my face as the tears fell. Burdened over daily matters as a single mom, clouded my vision for the tomorrows. After several dates, for the first time in a long time, I thought about a future and possibly having one with him.
From day one, I loved his adventurous spirit for the outdoors and watching him with my little gang. Whether those outings included dove hunting, camp-outs in tents, air shows, the circus, Disney World, or barbecues at the parks, he made it fun and special for the children. I was grateful for that.
After my ex deserted us, I had to find a job to earn income. But my being away had left the children’s safety net to unravel. One by one, serious issues ensued that needed my undivided attention. I could only do so much. I felt guilt ridden, like a complete failure.
Being a single mom took its toll; it wasn’t fun. I felt tired of pretending I had it together. My faith had always been the glue in my life but I had let God down too. I’ve been too busy, feeling haggard with the hustle and bustle of life, trying to keep our heads above water from the bills that flooded in every month.
“Are you sure you’re ready for the whole package?” I had asked him. Incomplete individuals usually search for fulfillment and happiness in others instead of finding their sense of well-being and self-worth from within. I had since learned that my completeness didn’t come from having faith in any man, but in a perfect God who loved me unconditionally, like no other.
With my heart on the line in this new relationship of ours, I wondered what if down the road we were abandoned? Deserted again. Forever?
Yet … I loved the one next to me, wanted him by my side and even believed that God had brought us together and superseded our circumstances. My heart was torn and pounded out of my chest. Would he share my faith?
My eldest, Anna Marie, with her Pops
His silence now ate away at me.
Then ever so gently, he took his thumb, wiped my tears and whispered, “You are the family I’ve always wanted.”
And the four words I will never forget:
“Let’s find God together.”
Dedicated to Mark, my husband and best friend –
a Stepdad who stepped up to the plate in more ways than one
© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved