I met CBG in late 2008. He met the girls soon after we started dating. For those of you unmotivated to do the math, that means that he’s been on the scene for over seven years now. Since my girls are (almost) 11 and 13, this means that my girls have known him for more than half their lives. In fact, Lil’ Mo (my youngest, at almost 11) doesn’t remember a time in her life before CBG (since she was still 3 when we first got together). That’s kind of a big deal.
Since the beginning, they’ve always called CBG by his first name. There was never any question otherwise. It felt just fine for everyone. Although my girls always loved CBG and he loved them back, their relationship was slow to grow close and comfortable. I’ve noticed in the past year so especially that the three of them have grown a lot closer. The reasons for this are complex and many-layered; it has happened naturally and in it’s own time. As the person connecting the three of them, it’s been lovely to watch it unfold into something special and unique to them.
Recently the girls and I had a conversation about feeling as though CBG needed a new title, something more appropriate for the relationship that has grown and deepened between them. They felt that since CBG has been such a big part of their lives for so long, that he deserved to be called something that acknowledged that importance. They said that they definitely feel that he is a “dad” to them, but were concerned that if they called him “Dad”, that their father might see it as somehow disloyal to him. They didn’t want to hurt their father’s feelings or cause things to be uncomfortable.
After some thought, they reasoned that since they call their father “Daddy” (and will likely continue to do so), that having a “Daddy” and a “Dad” might be alright (especially if they didn’t call him “Dad” around their Daddy, at least for the time being). That’s my girls…always trying to make sure that no one’s feelings get hurt. Of course, I fully respect their desire to honour their stepdad while respecting their Daddy at the same time. The wonderful part is that there is more than enough room in their hearts for everyone important to them.
They’ve been trying out this new title over the last few weeks and I have to admit, it’s been pretty awesome to hear. I can’t lie — I love hearing it. It’s the greatest confirmation of their relationship — one that has been growing and developing and deepening over the past seven years. I love it most when they call him “Todd” and then quickly correct themselves to call him “Dad”. Now that they’ve been using it for a while, it’s been rolling off their tongues much more easily as they’ve been getting more and more comfortable with it. It is comfortable and natural for all three of them.
But what I really love, most of all, is seeing CBG’s smile whenever they call him “Dad”. Because after seven + years and all that we’ve been through together as a family over that time, he’s earned that title.