Nico had gone to Sonic. He comes from a family that shows their love for each other through food, so he is constantly wanting to make me food or buy me food. LOL, not good for my waistline.
I was unloading the bags to get to my chili cheese tots (the most awesome creation in the universe, aside from pizza), and I stole one of Nico’s regular tots. And stole another for my older son.
A minute later my son asked, “Can I have another tot?”
“They’re Nico’s; you’ll have to ask him.”
My son turned to Nico. “Dad, can I have another tot?”
Nico and I looked at each other, holding each other’s eyes for a moment. It was a simple slip of the tongue, I suppose, but we were both aware that it was a pivotal moment. My son had called Nico dad. It was unintentional, and he never even realized that he said it, but that he would subconsciously call him that, think him that . . .
Saturday was visit dad day. Nico and I drove the kids down to their father’s town and pulled up to his house. My older son got out of the car on his own, but my younger son didn’t want to move. His disability is profound and he has significant developmental delays, but while he may not be able to put his feelings in words he can very clearly communicate them. I unbuckled his seat belt.
He rebuckled it.
He screamed about getting out of the car. He kicked his feet. When his dad tried to walk him up to the house, he dropped dead-weight to the ground, just like my self-defense teachers always said to do when someone was trying to take you where you don’t want to go.
He didn’t want to go with dad. He wanted to stay with mom and Nico.
On Saturday night Nico and I were asleep at his mom’s house; we’d stayed down there rather than driving back to Metropolis and having to drive back on Sunday to get the boys. Somewhere in the middle of the night Nico jolted up, which woke me up. Then he laughed at himself.
“I heard a sound and thought it was one of the boys. Guess that’s what happens when you have kids.” He didn’t just have a girlfriend who had kids; he had them.
I knew that Nico would be good to me. I knew that he would love me and take care of me. I just never knew how good he would be to my boys.
He has become their dad. Not begrudgingly, not because I forced him to be (I actually worked very hard to keep him from having to fulfill any parent responsibilities), but because he wanted to. He willingly steps up because he cares about us.
Last night after we got back to Metropolis I started vacuuming the kitchen floor, getting up all the crumbs my younger son had dropped on the floor. Vacuum still running, Nico came over and took it from my hand and said, “Let me do that.” I wrapped my arms around him and nuzzled my face into his neck. The vacuum was screaming but I held him tight, kissed his neck, and told him I loved him before I relinquished the vacuum to him.
“You go relax,” he said and pushed the vacuum toward the crumbs.
Tears rose up in my eyes. It was such a simple thing, a man vacuuming, but it was so foreign. He stepped up to clean my son’s mess so that I could rest. My children’s father never even did that.
Nico loves me. And he’s a good father. That’s the sexiest combination of all.