Today, The Man and I got up early and went to the store to get 6 gallons of paint – we were finally going to start painting the house! The Man has single-handedly remodeled this place, and this summer, we replaced the siding, which was 20 years old. To save money we used panels that were “seconds” and therefore marked on the corners with blue paint. Because of those marks, staring us in the face every time we drove up, we were anxious to finish the job, and the exterior paint was almost the last step.
I’ve helped the man do a fair share of painting, in our own house, as well as on a few large jobs he’s had. But I am not a painter. I was doing pretty good this morning, but got extremely frustrated after lunch and quit. I am not usually a quitter, but it was beyond what I could handle, so I walked away. The Man finished that side of the house on his own, and then moved on to cutting the lawn.
He had asked The Boy if he wanted to “drive” the mower today, so when he was ready, he took him for a few rides around the house before he started mowing in earnest. I took a few snaps, and came inside to relax for awhile (the sound of the mower tends to put me to sleep).
And then I heard voices. I looked through the back doors and saw The Boy and The Man on the mower. The Man was directing him where to go, and The Boy was actually mowing the lawn, steering, going in reverse, slowing down, and keeping his lines straight. It was a pretty neat sight, and erased all of my earlier frustration.
Because this was more than a stepdad showing his stepson how to mow the lawn.
This is a stepdad who understands how fascinated his autistic stepson is with cars, and watches how he pretends to start his own car every time he climbs into a vehicle. This is a stepdad who took his stepson to his favorite hardware store, and asked them to give him one of the mistakes from the key-making counter, so he could have his own set of car keys. This is a stepdad who watched his stepson pretending to steer and use turn signals in his truck this very morning, and decided to give him an opportunity to steer something with a real-live running engine, while throwing a hands-on lesson in there, to boot.
This is a stepdad.