He's so down to earth and practical that the motorcycle driving side of him is something I have a hard time picturing. Maybe because he now drives a minivan. But in his defense, he did get rid of the motorcycle before he met me. It wasn't all my fault.
I remember very early on telling him that we were a package deal. He could not love me without accepting him. I had to know that he understood he wasn't just signing up to be my husband. He would be joining me as I parent my son. He didn't just embrace my son, he jumped headfirst into parenting, fatherhood, and life with a precocious and rambunctious four-year-old. He didn't have the enjoyment of bonding with a baby and watching him grow. But he never missed a beat when it came to stepping into the role of parent. I've never liked the term Step-parent but indeed he stepped in and stepped up to the role God outlined for fathers to love and teach and train up a child, taking it upon himself to accept and love a child who wasn't his own. It didn't seem foreign to me since he wasn't genetically related to me either but I wasn't fully prepared for him to actually love him as a son. He joined me as a partner, friend, confidante, advocate, mediator, defender, protector. It was second nature to demonstrate spiritual leadership because it is who he is.
No one has ever told Eli what to call him or not to call him but "Mr. Mike" is still his namesake even after 4 years. It's proven to be his own term of endearment and not just a sign of respect. Mike is his name, there's no mistaking that, but the day would also come when he would gain a new name. He would go through the passage into parenthood where he would bear the name dad. Father. Daddy. He already wore it on his heart, but now it has become a part of who he is.
He's not just the man who used to ride a motorcycle. He's the man who waited faithfully for 12 years while riding out singlehood, never settling for anything less than God's best. (How I ended up being God's best for him still blows my mind because I often feel inadequate to love and serve him the way he deserves.) He's the man who chose me, gently pursuing my tattered heart and helping me rebuild the pieces. He's the man who willingly stepped into a world of chaos and provided a sense of calm. He's the man who joined the ranks of fatherhood without preparation or hesitation. He's the man who stood beside me at my lowest point, holding me as I writhed in pain. He's the man who held me as I sobbed and grieved the baby we had lost. He's the man who joined me in celebration at the announcement of our second pregnancy and he held onto hope and faith that we would have a healthy baby. He's the man who refused to settle on a boy's name because in his heart of hearts we were having a girl. He's the man who was right because our daughter would be born in November. He's the man who would stand over me in surgery calming me down after a day and a half of scary labor. He would watch his daughter be born and battle whose side to be by, mine or hers.
He's the man God gave me to be my helpmate and support, my strength and leader. He pushes me to go beyond myself and consider new perspectives. He loves me endlessly and serves me tirelessly. He fights fiercely for his family and never waivers in his faith. He is my husband. My friend. My love. The father to our daughter. Step dad to Eli. A brother and son I know his family is proud of. He's my man. My Michael. And this Father's Day I honor him.