Thanks For Being an A**hole to My Son
Blending families and step parenting can be a nightmare. I know this first hand. When my son was 21 months old I met Erik on match.com. He was just 28 years old and wasn’t even thinking about a family yet. But for some crazy reason he decided to respond to my match message. He knew I was 5 years older than him and that I had a young son. That didn’t stop him. We began dating and eventually married.
I have so many precious memories of Erik and Matt. Matt used to call him Guck because he couldn’t say Erik. We still hear that name today. I remember him taking Matt to see the Spongebob movie. We were just dating at the time and I was so surprised he didn’t ask me for money. One night he showed up at my condo with a gold fish. Matt was obsessed with Elmo at the time and Elmo had a goldfish. Matt named him Juni Juice Box. He died about 2 weeks later but Erik replaced him with a fish that Matt named pfrrrrmt. Erik used to sing “General Puff and his straw army penguins fighting for their freedom to lay their eggs” to Matt all the time. He also defeated Zerg, watched The Sound of Music 200 times, taught him how to ride a bike, cast a fishing rod and fire his first gun.
Every memory wasn’t blissful and perfect. We fought about how to raise Matt. I was a single mother feeling guilty about many of the choices I made in life. I bent over backwards to try and protect my only son from feeling or experiencing any pain. Frustrating as this was for Erik he never gave up on his step son.
He would teach him how to mow the lawn and if Matt missed a spot he would send him back out to redo it. He would make him stand against the wall of the house when playing catch so he couldn’t step back away from the baseball that Matt feared. The hardest one for me was a leaf blowing job Matt took back in CT. The client talked him down to a ridiculously low price. Matt just wanted the job so badly and he committed. This turned out to be about a 12 hour job. I wanted him to bail. It was too much work for a 13 year old kid and he would lose money in the end. After 6 hours of working and a couple of phone calls from Matt looking for permission to quit Erik got in his car and drove across town to help his step son. They must have worked another 6 hours together. In the end Matt barely made enough to cover the leaf bags. But he learned some valuable lessons that day. If you commit to something you see it through. He also learned how to better negotiate the pricing of a job. But that was the less important lesson.
Today Matt is 16 years old and he mows lawns, power washes houses and does other yard work. He works hard, has good grades and really is a nice kid. Matt, Trevor (my 9 year old son with Erik) and I were sitting outside last night while Matt played his guitar and sang some songs. On a break from singing he talked about needing to study and not wanting to be lazy. I told him that the only person in the world that would tell you that you were being lazy was your stepdad. But his intentions are to push you as hard as he can. Matt replied and said “Erik is just the kind A**hole I needed in my life”. We all laughed. But I know he appreciates every hard lesson his step dad has ever taught him.
To my husband on Father’s Day…Thanks for being an a**hole to my son. We all love you and appreciate every little thing you have done for us!