WARNING: This could end up being an incredibly sappy post. Deal with it.
The Dude and I started dating about 9 months ago. And you guys have all been along for the ride, for the most part (well, if you've been reading this for that long you have). Anyway...
This guy gets me. For whatever reason, that just clicked with me yesterday. I don't know how to explain it really, but I'm going to try.
He came over last night to help me out with some things, and he went to the store to get a few items that we needed. And he came back with flowers. Nothing super fancy or expensive - just a couple of flowers that were really pretty and smell really good and they made me smile. And now every time I look at them, well....I smile again.
I had mentioned to him that I needed a new basket-thingee for my canner - the one that I had was actually starting to fall apart from being used so much, and so while he was at the store, he found one and brought it home with him. Why? Because he knew that it would make my job easier.
It's the little things like that. And it's the big things. He walked into this relationship knowing that there were 5 kids involved, and it's never bothered him. He treats them as if they were his own children. When he was walking out the door yesterday to go to the store, Alex and Daniel yelled "love you!" to him and without missing a beat, he said it right back to them. Luckily, he was already out the door and I had my back turned, or he would have seen the tears in my eyes when I heard him say it.
Daniel is determined that The Dude is going to be his dad. I don't know when he started saying it, but a while back he made some comment saying that he wanted The Dude to be his daddy. He totally caught me off guard when he said it, and I stopped what I was doing and asked him why he felt like that. His response? "Because my real dad was sick and he died, and I love [The Dude] and I want him to be my daddy because he loves me too." Yep, more tears from me on that one - numerous times. The Dude and I have talked about this at length - he is more than prepared to be the positive male role model, father figure, or whatever you want to call it. It is a role that he embraces wholeheartedly and without hesitation - with all of the kids, not just Daniel. It's just different with Daniel because he DOESN'T have his biological father in his life. Watching the relationship between him and the kids grow and change over time has been amazing - and when I start to question whether or not he's really prepared for all of this, he never fails to remind me that he did sign up for this.
And he puts up with me. He deals with my mood swings without losing his patience with me. He tolerates when I get OCD about something and just lets me do whatever it is to get it out of my system. He supports me in my efforts to be healthier, and does whatever he can to help me when I have a race to prepare for, and he's there for me on race day when I cross the finish line. He's my biggest supporter, cheerleader, and confidant. He's the first person that I want to tell when something funny happens and the first person that I want to show a really cool picture to before I post it for the world to see. He is definitely, without a doubt, my best friend.
I don't know how I got to be so lucky after all of these years, but I do know that I have never been this happy. And while I still haven't changed my mind on marriage, I do know that I want to keep this guy around for as long as he can put up with me.