Let’s start here. Where we are today. With what we have. Later we can reminisce about what once was, or peer into tomorrow’s joys and sorrows. But for today, in this moment, hello present.
The boys are outside! Bingham (6) is riding his bike in circles around Billy (5) while the pavement echos their presence with each wheel turn and passionate step. Davin is outside with them, having taken a break from work to play with his sons.
His SONS. They belong to him.
I’ve always called them mine, from before they had voices, when they could kick me from inside and their heartbeats were quiet but to a stethoscope. From their first breaths and bites, to syllables and steps, they’ve been my own specific pride and joy. Bingham and Billy have always looked like their first father, Eric, with sandy blonde hair, deep eyes and an affinity for quirky jokes. But they were so young when he died that I became as much their entire world as they were mine.
When we moved in with Granna and Papa, my parents, they curated a bond immovable and grand. But the boys were still mine, whether I tucked them in there or whisked them away somewhere else for a weekend.
The children formed a bond also with Davin through movies, lego building and gnat swatting (hiking) while we were dating. Then in July 2019, the official family blending began as we said vows to one another. I said I do, he said it too, and so did our boys to their new dad. We spilled sand into a glass jar, stuffed cake in each other’s faces, laughed and thanked our friends, then Davin and I fled in a field of bubbles blown by our loved ones.
But a moment does not a instant blend make. How do two souls become one? And how does a man become a father to boys? And how does a mother share her babies? Exactly how do we do this together?
We didn’t really know, and to my own chagrin there is no rule book on this. So we simply stepped in, one after the other, in and out of transitions. Often smooth, with snack-y dinners, family snuggles & pick-up soccer games. Sometimes tense, in the loudest silence, a harsh word, or slamming doors. The world around is full of pain, and we’re feeling that on an intimate level. Try as we might to hold each our own, all of our feelings spill onto one another. Blending, as we know it, has not been easy or clean. No, it’s very messy. But it’s beautiful, too.
Here and now. Weeks joined into months and became nearly one whole year of family-hood. For better or worse, in sickness and health, forever and always no matter what, we are the Rayford Family.