Let me just clarify...
Is nothing at all like the sort of men I usually date and perhaps that's exactly why he's captured my heart in a way no other has in a very long time. He's remarkably hard-working (on active duty and proud of it), he's honest, funny, intelligent (far more so than I would have given a career military man credit for, but trust me, when it comes to WMD, he's your man!) Maybe I can best summarize how I feel about him by sharing this:
The other night, Scratch came over after work to join Flash and I for family pizza night and wii bowling (exciting, I know, but it was). Scratch jumped right in, cutting up peppers and mushrooms as we introduced him to a long-standing tradition of making your own pizza. While I finished preparations, rolling out the individual pizza crusts, Flash and Scratch had an ongoing conversation about Bond movies. What was the best Bond location? (Russia) Who was the best bond actor (Sean Connery, of course) What was the best Bond gadget...car, blah, blah, I admit it, it all went over my head at that point. I do recall the boys, one in camo uniform sipping a Guiness at my table, the other in a t-shirt standing at the counter, eating nibbles of ingredients, had quite the laugh about the time Bond confused Q's sub sandwich with a new gadget. In any case, it was only a matter of time, and yet, my heart skipped a beat when he said it. The boy in camo fatigues and dog tags said with a wink in his voice (if ever that was possible), "Best Bond girl!" and without skipping a beat, Flash jumped right in with his vote.
I'd be lying if I said that was just a typical boy moment. You see, in my lifetime, I don't recall EVER witnessing such a moment with my son. I have never been present when he's had a "typical male conversation" with another man. I don't ever remember anyone so casually, so naturally engaging my boy in a conversation that was appropriate for his age AND gender quite like Scratch had just done.
I know, I know, to those of you who are married with kids, maybe it's just something you take for granted. But, in Flash's life, he doesn't have a male role model who teases about women, who is willing to say things, perhaps inappropriate in some sense and yet, exactly what is going through my teen's mind.
I turned around and looked at Scratch. For a moment, I think he thought I was going to scold him, although it wouldn't have mattered, he just winked and smiled at me, pleased as punch with himself. But if he thought I was upset, he was wrong. I wanted to hug him, I wanted to scream THANK YOU! I wanted to somehow convey to him the significance of what he had just done.
I tried, later, to tell Scratch, and maybe, on some level he understands. But it's just who Scratch is, so he didn't see it as any big deal. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't for a minute think that parenting (even step-parenting) is all about having fun and being a "buddy". When given the opportunity to ask me a "hard question", Scratch wanted to know if I would allow a step-parent to really parent my boy, or if I was just looking for a spouse.
Suffice it to say, Scratch and I are on the same page there.
The difficulty right now is that for all that Scratch has seen of this world, which is to say, a lot, and not many of the good things, he's a little skeptical on the "loving God" theory on life. He was raised in a Christian home and has a mother that keeps praying for him. He's not opposed to the idea, but opposes those that push their faith. We've had many conversations on the topic; he knows it is no small thing to me and that if we take any steps further it will only be if we're on the same page. But for now, for what it is today, Scratch has sure brought some joy into this little family of ours.