Nico came in from the garage. It was his in-office day, the day of the week I secretly love. During the rest of the week he works from his home office in t-shirts and ugly shorts, but on his in-office day, he’s magically transformed into this strong, incredibly sexy man when he puts on a crisply pressed white shirt, a smartly knotted tie, dark dress trousers, and expensive leather shoes. Nothing hotter than a man in dress clothes. Nothing.
My younger son and I were there by the door when Nico came in. He hugged and kissed me, and then he looked down at my son, scrunched up his face, hunched over, and became the tickle monster. My son squealed in delight and ran to his room to “hide” from the tickle monster. Giggling from under his blanket, he said, “Nico tickle [his own name]” over and over again.
My son’s developmental delays are very pronounced, so a sentence like this is rather amazing.
Nico stopped tickling for just a moment and my older son came into the room. The two boys created a cacophony of ‘Nicos’, each saying his name over and over again as they vied to get his attention.
For the first time, I looked at the four of us together and knew we were a family.
Last night Nico and I were in bed and he laughed. “I just found a rock in the bed!” he exclaimed. “I know who it was; it was one of my chir-ren,” he said playfully, and then, again, “my chir-ren.”
He was being playful, as he always seems to be when he expresses the most serious of things, but his message was clear: these are my children. They aren’t just some kids his girlfriend dragged along from a previous relationship; they are his. And I know he’ll always love them as his own and be better to them than their biological father is.
We’re a family. A family.