Softly, softly, softly. That’s how we do it here, every day, for now.
I watch my children adapt and warm to living with a new person in our lives. I watch with amazement as they take things in their stride, as they assess what goes on here and assimilate it into their tiny frames of what life is like.
As those of you who’ve done this before me know, introducing a new parental figure to the family mix is done with care and trepidation, and a definitive sense of not pushing things too far.
Small invitations to intimacy are made. The Most Amazing Man offers the Chop a hug before bed, and he responds with his arms wide open. I see the hesitation more with my son than with my daughter. My Chop is hesitant to trust too much, to get too close. He remembers what it’s like to be left behind.
“I will leave you!” The Most Amazing Man says to me, taunting and joking, and I poke my tongue out in response.
Neither of us realised my son had heard that exchange, until his head pops up with shock and he asks “What? What did you say?”
“Joking, baby. We were joking, I promise. The Most Amazing Man is not going anywhere.”
Everything is done in tiny pieces, tiny increments of trust and discipline. Tiny offerings- a hug, a bedtime story, a family day out. All those ‘normal’ things you do with a dad, that my children have been missing for years.
Softly, softly. One tiny baby step at a time.