I don’t often make direct references to my personal life, but the events of last weekend and this morning, I believe, compel me to at least journal my thoughts on the topic. As most of you know, I’m recently married (and still loving it completely, incidentally). With the addition of my wife to my family came her five year old son, A.J.

The reason my wife was able to marry me is that the father of her first child was a capital jerk by the name of Al Lynch, and as such she was not married to him. I won’t reveal the intimate details of his jerkitude in deference to my wife’s right to privacy, but the bottom line is that he’s a selfish dolt, a condition that continues to rear it’s ugly head to this day.

About a month and a half ago, AJ started calling me Dad – a decision he came to completely on his own, and one that filled me with joy. I love my wife, and I have come to love AJ as well, and to have him finally reciprocate the sentiment was something that really made my day. I hadn’t expected him to start calling me Dad until Jacob was born and talking and calling me Dad.

The day after he started calling me Dad, he pulled me aside and said: “From now on, I’m going to call you Dad, and you can call me ‘kid’ or ‘son’, but just don’t tell my [maternal grandmother] or my Daddy | [Al].”

The following day, he was to go spend a week with his Grandmother, Uncle and Father in Dallas. When he came back, it took several hours, but he eventually pulled his Mother and I aside to talk to us about some things his Dad had said.

“Mom, why does Daddy say you suck and you’re a bitch?” AJ asked. “And why does it hurt his feelings when I call Mark Dad?”

Fast forward to this morning, two days after another two-day trip with his father, when AJ pulls aside Iris to have a discussion on whether or not he should call me Dad or not.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think that a child of five years old should have to wrestle with these sorts of dilemmas. It’s cruel and selfish on Al’s part, and it ultimately is going to destroy his relationship with his son. I’ll always be there for AJ, and I’ll always take care of him, and while it hurts me that he may decide to stop calling me Dad so he doesn’t offend his Father, AJ will never know that – not until he’s old enough to handle that.

My nuclear family upbringing didn’t prepare me for this sort of thing. At this point, I’m not sure what the right move is. Anyone out there with some serious input, I welcome your advice.