I know, I know...two blogs in one day. But I do my best "blogging" when Chase is at work. This one started as I was getting the girls into the shower. Chase is a super neat-freak which is annoying and wonderful all at the same time. When we first started dating, the girls were 8 and 6 years old. They were coming out of a very trying first year of life as kids of divorced parents. I had always been a stickler for bedtimes, nutrition, schedules and organized activities. But as guilt from the divorce and plain old fatigue wore me down, I sacrificed some of those things and let them get away with old bad habits (Autumn sucking her fingers) and developed new bad habits (not picking up after themselves, eating crap for dinner because it was easier, etc). So you can imagine that us three girls had to re-adjust and re-learn things when we all came together as a family. So, little by little Chase has reformed us into good law-abiding, bathroom cleaning citizens who follow a routine and get to bed on time every night. Just a few of the reforms include: no more finger-sucking for Autumn, beds made every day, muddy shoes left by the back door, towels hung up after a bath, bodies towel-dried and pjs put on IN THE BATHROOM instead of streaking while still dripping wet through the house, and Autie will AT LEAST attempt every food on her plate without tears or wretching (that was a BIG one folks). And all of this is because of the effort Chase had put forth. I can take absolutely no credit whatsoever for this turn-about. And the most amazing part of it all is that he has never had a child of his own. And he is the youngest child in his family with no little brother or sister to look after. He took us on with no real prior experience and puts me to shame with his parenting abilities. And as proud as I am of him for all of his effort, my happiness turns to sad when I remember that he is not their real dad and that although the girls love him and respect him, he never holds that honor in their eyes. Maybe someday when they are older they will appreciate him for the role he plays in their life as a father. He taught Autie to ride her bike without her training wheels and once she learned it was him that went and bought her a big-girl bike. He gets them up every morning that he is not at work to make them breakfast and see that they get on the bus. He makes dinner every night. He was right there when Bailee had her surgery and picked her up and put her in the truck afterwards to take her home to the house that is now ours together but that he opened up to us graciously. He schedules his hunting trips around theirs and my schedule which means he doesn't get to go very often. He sacrifices constantly, but they still call him "Chase". The surgeon that operated on Bailee asked me afterwards if he had adopted the girls because he is so involved in their lives. I told Chase about that and he said "well I wonder what we would have to do". Of course, it would require that their biological father sign over his rights, which is unlikely. And as I was signing the one of the girls names to a paper for school, along with my own and he saw the difference in the last names, he asked "do you think they will ever want to change their names [to match ours]" and I told him that would most likely require the adoption procedure and the slim chance of that occurring.
I understand that the girls have a dad and that no one will ever take his place. But it seems only fair that there would be another term of endearment that was just as honorable for a man like Chase. And more than anything I want us to have another child that will bear his name and will call him what he already is to the girls, even if they can't yet see it. Daddy.