Daniel was born on June 10, 2007. On May 6, 2009 - I told his father to leave our home for the last time ... 697 days later.
Daniel and I met The Dude for the first time on November 25, 2011 - 697 days ago.
As of today, The Dude has been a part of Daniel's life longer than his biological father was.
It's bittersweet for both of us. I asked The Dude today what he thought about it and his response was "conflicted". He's glad to be a part of Daniel's life, but at the same time he feels bad that Daniel will never get to know his father.
Honestly, it's the same for me. I know that his father loved him. I know that he had the potential to be a great father. But it just didn't happen that way. The addiction was too much to overcome and it tore our family apart before it took him away from us forever.
But, we have a good life now. We have come so far as a family and we are finally in a good place. The Dude has been amazing to all of us. Daniel looks to him as a father and I am so incredibly thankful for that. He knows that he has another father - but he also knows that The Dude is there for him and loves him even though there isn't a biological connection.
At his age, Daniel doesn't realize the significance of today. I've been thinking about it for weeks, because not only do I realize what this means for Daniel, but I realize what it means for me. I never dreamed that I would allow anyone to become such a huge part of our lives, but yet somehow, The Dude has wormed his way in and he still claims that he plans on staying. We have gone through so much crap in the past few months between work schedules and house hunting and injuries and illnesses and vehicle breakdowns and stress and chaos and panic - and yet we're still hanging in there (and creeping dangerously close to our 2 year anniversary) and doing everything that we can to care for our family - even if it's split between a couple of different residences for a few more months.
Life is good. Crazy, chaotic, and not always predictable, but it's good.