Five years of love- How our family became whole

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Five years ago today I was sitting in the car with my mom describing my most recent dating-mishap. I had separated from my husband six months prior and was trying to navigate the dating world as a single mother and up to that point it had been disastrous.

“I honestly don’t think I want to date anymore its exhausting.” I remember saying to her.

“You just keep finding the wrong people…what about Manuel?”

“I have no idea who that is.”

“You remember Manuel he worked with Brian (my step dad) and he came to a couple get togethers before”

I thought about it for a minute and after about three more attempts are jogging my memory my mom was satisfied that I actually did NOT remember Manuel. She texted my step dad to give him my number.

That night I called my sister and asked her what she thought of Manuel because she had volunteered to work with my step dad and him a year prior.

“He’s nice, but you probably won’t like him.” Was her response.

Then at midnight I got a text saying “Hey.” (Ya real smooth). To not look like I was waiting for his text I went to sleep and then responded the next morning with a “Who’s this?” even though I already had his number and knew exactly who it was.

“It’s Manuel, Brian’s friend.”

I drove to meet him that Tuesday, we hit it off, and soon after he met Annabelle and I remember just knowing he was going to be in our lives.love3

That Halloween we had only been together for a few weeks, and I remember him saying “Now I am totally not biased, but Annabelle was definitely the cutest Little Red Riding Hood I saw all night. I’m being serious.”

Silly as that may seem, that was the moment I knew he totally loved us. I just knew right then that he was IN. We moved in together that May and now here we are five years later with two more little people!

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I would have never thought when my mom said “What about Manuel?” that she was at that moment setting me up with the person I would be spending the rest of my life with. My sister and I still get a kick out of her disbelief that we would even like eachother!

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It is hard to date as a single mother. I remember men who seemed like they were just interested in “playing house” but not really being there, or some men who would get mad because my daughter would be sick and I had to cancel plans. I wasn’t looking to replace Annabelle’s biological father, but whoever I did end up with would have to be willing to eventually go there. Single mothers don’t just bring people around their kids to have them walk away when they get bored.

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Manuel right away wanted to be a part of our family. I remember him telling me not too long into our relationship that he definitely wanted a family and that he saw that with me and Annabelle. He was there for me during rough times with my ex-husband when it would have been easier for him to walk away. He would wake up and sit with me when Annabelle had night terrors, he was there when she started preschool and rocked her to sleep during nights when I worked late.

He fixed something I didn’t realize was broken.

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Now five years from when I was first introduced to Manuel we are in the beginning stages of him legally adopting Annabelle. I look back on the past five years and I just feel so lucky to have him. I will always love him for who he is and what he and his family have done by accepting Annabelle and I without hesitation. I can’t wait to look back five years from now and see where our journey has taken us.

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