12 May 2010

The Gallery - The man in my life...

The theme for The Gallery at Sticky Fingers this week is Men. 
I could post about the distant relationship, and not geographically, I have with my Dad who left us when I was 15 and my younger sister was only 5 months old, with 7 and 9 yr olds in between. Or I could post about my ex-husband, father to my 4 children and since remarried with 2 step-daughters. I could choose my 3 boys, now 18, 20 and 22 years old, as they have all been, and still are, a huge part of my life. 
But no, I'm going to post photos of my OH. 
We've been together for 12 years. We moved from Essex to Brighton in 2001, as a family of 6. And although my children still all see their Dad, and until they were all 16 or so and made their own decisions that their social life was far more important than spending 2 whole days with their Dad when all their friends are here in Brighton, saw him every other weekend. A natural progression I think, as does their dad. As who, at that age, chooses to spend a whole weekend with one of their parents, whether together or not?
From Brighton to Essex (140 or so miles, round trip) on a Friday after school, then there and back again to pick them up on a Sunday, every 2 weeks. Yes, we clocked up the miles, we wore grooves in the M23/M25 motorways.  And my OH did a fair chunk of some of those miles with them, as my ex doesn't drive. But that was our choice, made as a couple, for living in Brighton.
But I think the main reason I'm posting photos of my OH is that he's had a hugely tough job in those 12 years.
A father figure, but not the father. He's dealt with all the good, the bad and the bits in between. All the downright hard, tough work that goes into being a dad. But without actually reaping all of the benefits, some yes, but not all. It's a very tricky line to walk, as a step-dad. He's had the immortal lines "You can't tell me what to do, you're not my dad!" thrown at him on more than one occassion. He's done the hands on, day to day 'dad' stuff from cooking, cleaning, picking up after, taxi service, constant reminders about revision/laundry and that uniquely teenage ailment (ongoing), which causes a complete lack of any crockery or glasses to be found in the kitchen...
....Plus GCSE exams, times 4!
And then there have been the many, many fun things he's shared with them, or things he's taught them. Bike riding, sailing on our Catamaran, canoeing, above, OH is in the middle, last year in Greece. Diving, well most of them anyway, TD still can't quite grasp an elegant dive, but what she lacks in style she more than makes up for with enthusiasm. Skateboarding, roller blading..and my personal favourite beach jumping! (Sadly I can't find a digital photo of the beach jumping). Plus so, so many others.
The children love their dad, dearly, and he them. That has never, ever been an issue. And he has handed down some great qualities to them. But if I am to be completely honest, and it's my blog so I can say what I think, my OH has had a larger influence on them, day to day, in shaping the adults they have become and are becoming. So in that respect, my children have been extremely lucky, they have had the best of two Dads.
It's been an extremely tough, emotional, life changing six months for all of us, but mainly for OH, with much more still to come, but I'm not going into it in this post. You can read an earlier post here or on OHs own blog, here if you want to know more.
I wanted to share with everyone in the wonderful blogging world what a brilliant 'Step-Dad' looks like. 
Also, because I just happen to think he looks pretty damn sexy in the last photo, the twinkle in his eyes and the hint of a grin? Very, very..Mmm...yes, well.. ahem.....*cough*

So I'm giving him a standing ovation...for a job well done. 

You do know the standing ovation isn't just for the looking 'sexy' part, don't you??...
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