I was 4 years old when I met the man that I call my dad, a day that I remember vividly.
My mom and I were living in a small apartment complex that she managed at the time. Her and my real dad had been divorced for a few months, and his visits were becoming less and less frequent. After getting myself dressed I headed down stairs where I came to a screeching hault. I’m sure you can imagine the look on my face when I headed down stairs to find a strange bearded man standing in my living room, hand-in-hand with my mother. My first instinct was to run and hide, because that’s what you do with there is a big scary man in your house. Before I could turn on my heels to hide, my mom introduced me to the intruder – “Bayli, this is Chance. He is going to take us to lunch today, is that okay?” Then the man, Chance, extended a little bouquet of flowers to me. I spent the remainder of lunch unable to remove my eyes from the strange man that was holding my mom’s hand, the way I’d only ever seen my real dad do. Chance was big and scary, but also charismatic and playful. I was so torn whether I should like this man, or be terrified. So I kept my distance for a little while.
Our relationship was finally bonded on the day that he was helping my mom and I move our stuff into his house. As this was my third move just that year, he could see the disappointment in my eyes. To help me feel as though I was “home”, he spent the entire next day with me, letting me pick out the paint and decorations I wanted for my room. Although this gesture was small, no one had ever stopped to think how moving so much had effected me – until then.
Ever since lunch, 16 years ago, he has been my biggest supporter, my crutch, and my biggest inspiration in life. Chance has never made me feel as though any dream were too big and has always encouraged me to be the best form of myself I can be. Without him, I would not be where I am today. I owe him everything.
Thankfully every year we get a day to not only to celebrate the men who brought us into this world, but the ones who brought the world to us. Biological or not, thank you for all that you do.