Once upon a time I was a single parent with a 3 year old son and a new baby girl. Although being a 22 year old with two kids wasn't easy, being a mum defined me, giving me something to live for and to strive for. I didn't need any one else aside from my son and my daughter. With two terrible failed relationships behind me, the part of me that could love or trust again was more than a little broken. I focused all my effort and energy into doing the best for my children. Building a life for us and protecting them from the hurt I had endured.
I could never have known that I would be sharing my life with someone again so soon. That within a year someone would take my wounded heart and fix it. Someone who would teach me how to live and how to love.
You came along. My best friend for so many years. Offering me the unconditional support and friendship that had been missing from my previous relationships. Opening my eyes to how it felt to be respected, cherished and loved. It was inevitable that our friendship would become something more and I knew that you were an honest, decent, trustworthy man with a good heart - a man that I could let into my children's lives.
So you became the father figure that they had never had. A man that they could love and trust, who would never let them down. Who would put their needs first. Who would love their mum and never hurt her.
Over the next few years we saw the arrival of a daughter. We got married and welcomed another little girl and a son into our family. We built a home and saw our love grow deeper and deeper, as we shared our lives together.
Today is Father's Day.
On this day I need to let you know just how amazing a man you are. What you have given me can never be quantified. Because you have given me myself. You made me whole and gave me the chance to be the best person I could ever be, But more than that, you gave my children the very best dad that they could ever wish for. Literally.
I have never known a dad like you. Nothing is too much trouble for you when it comes to your family. The things you have done for all five of our children goes so far beyond the call of duty. You are selfless. You are kind, fair, respectful and supportive. You love unconditionally, with all of your heart. You have fun with them, enjoying their company and time spent together. You give them the tools to be better people and let them see how a real man behaves. They are so lucky to have you.
If I could have known what life my two eldest children would enjoy thanks to me being with you, that scared 22 year old girl that I was, would have never wasted a tear , felt any regret or sorrow or feared for our futures. Everything bad that I had endured up to that point in my life was worth my suffering. Because my journey led me to you. Has led me to where we are now, with five miraculous children and a wonderful life together.
Thank you for allowing me to give my children a dad like you. It has been the very best gift I could ever have given to them. The best gift for a mother to give to her children. A role model, a hero, a shoulder to cry on and someone to trust. A strong pair of arms to hold them and the knowledge that they will always have someone who puts their needs above their own.
I only have to look at my incredible, successful, confident and loving older kids to know that your parenting has influenced their lives in such a positive way. You gave them a love that transcended biology, allowing them to rewrite the futures they may have otherwise had. Our three younger children are just as wonderful, knowing nothing but the unconditional love of two parents who are very much in love with each other. The five of them are as close as siblings can be and fill us with such pride and joy everyday.
We did this together Ian, but I am forever grateful to you. You gave me the chance to live this life and to give our children all the things that they need to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. That is a true blessing.