By: Joey Uva
I met Trevor when Grace was ten months old. He and I dated very briefly before I ended it. I was a new dad and from the very day Grace was born something changed. Prior to my daughter’s birth, I dated at the drop of hat, any guy that I found attractive or interesting without knowing much else about them. Somehow, when Grace was born something happened that made me more aware. I was much more conscious and evaluated all of my choices in a new way. I was also very cautious about whom Grace would come to know as my other half if and when that happened.
Trevor and I were dating for six weeks or so before we had our first big argument, which was over the phone. I accused him of only calling me hours before to do something, and me being his last resort. Trevor fought back with; “at least I am calling you!” Looking back, it was my fault. I was a dad now, a dad who was unsure of this new guy. I asked myself so many questions. Could he handle me having a daughter? Could he love both of us and accept us as we are? What kind of person was he? What was his family like? I couldn’t answer those questions. I ended it only weeks after it started without sharing any thoughts with him and keeping it all to myself.
On occasion, I would run into Trevor and keep it as a casual hello as we passed each other. I really wanted to get to know him better and something kept pulling me in his direction. Eight months after I ended our dating, I finally gave in and called him. The conversation was the basic “how are you and what have you been up to?” Trevor shared with me that he met a guy who lived in Texas and they were kind of dating but it was long distance and not really exclusive being they had all that distance between them. Over the next six months we became good friends. In fact Trevor became, and still is, my best friend. As we grew closer, our feelings became stronger and we found it difficult when we were apart. One day I finally realized that I needed to speak with him. I had gone over in mind many times what I wanted to say; I knew how it was all going to go down and this conversation would be the make-it-or-break-it for me. Trevor came to my house to pick me up for a dinner and a movie date in which we were meeting friends. When he arrived and we started walking, I told him that I couldn’t just be dating casually without knowing what we were doing, Before I could get to my “you’re in or you’re out” speech, he told me that he and the guy in Texas had ended their dating. I then asked him; “So what are WE doing here?” he responded; “Let’s keep doing exactly what we’re doing.” He moved in with me about four months later. Ten months after that we moved into a bigger place together. He met Grace for the first time just after her 2nd birthday. Grace began calling him “Papa T” when she was about three and half years old.
Just the other day Grace was in the living room and called out, “Papa! Can you come here for a minute?” Grace was playing with a new toy and desperately wanted to show me something. I walked into the living room and said; “Yes pumpkin?” Grace replied; “Not you Papa, my other Papa please!” There was no “T” to follow the Papa, and there have been a handful of times Grace has done this over the last couple of months. The first time I heard Grace call Trevor Papa minus the “T”, I pondered it for a while. As I thought about it, a wonderful feeling came over me: she doesn’t love me less; she has come to love him more, more with each day. In the great words of Maya Angelou, “love liberates”. By loving my daughter completely and unconditionally, she, in turn, is free to love.
Grace will be six on Monday; four years have gone by since she and Trevor first met. I found the right guy, the right partner, my best friend, and a great Papa. It seems Grace thinks so too.