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The last few years haven’t been easy. Thankfully I share my life with the most tenacious person I’ve ever known. She has been able to withstand many highs and lows over our 6 years together, and where some would have thrown the towel in, shes only dug her feet in more in terms of being all I could ask for.

Life can surprise us in great ways

I was the definition of a struggling sole-custody parent prior to us meeting. Drowning in the realities of life (bills, childcare, mortgage, vehicle payments) while trying to provide a better life for my son. I was becoming distant, frustrated, angry, and depressed. I had to work longer hours to pay the bills at the expense of spending time with my son, but was becoming so emotionally unavailable at home, I knew I was letting him down. One of the saddest moments of my life was when I had woken up on the couch one morning to realize my 8 year son covered me with a blanket before putting himself to bed.

As a result of upheaving a majority of my friend circle once being awarded custody of my son, and then going through a messy separation with a fiance shortly after my son moving in, traditional dating options were limited. So, against all better judgement, I gave a dating site a shot, even though I suspected it to be a waste of time.

….and it was.

I was about to close my dating account one night when I received a message from a woman. Out of curiosity I read the message, to which it said “What do you have against popcorn?”, which was a direct retort to some mumbling I had referenced in my profile about my distaste for the salty, weightless product. I looked over her profile, she had 3 young kids (Yikes!), and never replied…

Fast forward 6 ½ years later, I’ve built a life with this popcorn protester and her 3 amazing children as I eventually replied to that message, albeit taking about 2 weeks of deliberation and a “what have I got to lose” epiphany while sucking back some Irish whisky.

Now, I thought raising one child alone was scary, but I’ll tell you this, co-parenting is an entirely different level of defcon 1. It took time, a lot of trial and error, but we treaded through our different beliefs and found a unified compromise that worked for everyone. She brought a sense of calm, compassion, and understanding into my life that my son and I needed.

Within these 6 years though, she’s held down the fort while I’ve made 2 trips to Thunder Bay for a combined 15 months being away from home, dealt with me taking on night schooling, and, most recently, helped me prepare for a surgery as I was, for a lack of a better term, immobilized essentially for the last 2 months prior to my operation. I have no idea how she does it. Raising 4 kids, holding down a job, and tolerating my gaps of physical or mental unavailability while I pursue either school, work, or Dad Club related matters. She breathed new life into me, brought a world of happiness into our lives, and changed my entire outlook on so many things.

In all of it though, looking back, the most important thing she has provided is a sense of peace within all of our lives. She's a constant that can always be relied on while I flutter gracefully like cement truck in a tornado. Although we will never have kids together, we raise our family as one, and she has treated my son as if he were her own, especially more so once his birth mother walked out of his life many years ago.

Honestly, I could write a novel about her, our lives, and how she amazing she is…

This weekend, we will all gather around the fire pit in our backyard, share a few laughs, make some S’mores, and at the end of the night put that tin plate of butter and salt on the fire.

Because popcorn has a special place in my heart now.

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