I met Katerina when she was four years old. Kat is Jennifer’s daughter. When Jennifer and I got married I said some vows to Katerina. In those vows, I told her that I didn’t want to take over the role of her biological father, George Davidovich, but that I would do my very best to always love her as my daughter. The word always was important in those vows. (George is a putz, by the way, and out of the picture since Kat was about eight. But that is another discussion.)
A few months later we were all in the same house. It was night and I couldn’t sleep. Jen was fast asleep next to me and Kat was fast asleep in her bedroom, and I was lying there wide awake with my mind wandering about. I had this sudden notion, really more of a flooding realization. I imagined some awful person entering our home and me needing to make the immediate decision of that person killing Kat or killing me. The choice came to me without me making the choice. I think I may have even said “What???” out loud. Not because I thought that giving up my life was the incorrect option. It was that it came to me at light-speed, almost involuntarily. I know I would have voluntarily made the “right” decision, but this was overwhelming. I didn’t have the opportunity to be with Kat on the day of her birth, or to see her first steps or hear her first words. I missed out on her first four-and-a-half years of life. Yet there I was feeling a sense of love I’d never known before. I knew I loved Kat because I believe that love is a decision and it is revealed in our actions toward each other. But this?
A few years later Jen and I were on a “panel” at church with two or three other married couples in front of the church high school group. One of the students asked me a question that was something like “have you ever wanted a child of your own?” Now, I knew what they meant. But the answer that came out of me was so easy because it came from that love that I have for Kat. I did have a child of my own. Kat was my child. I won’t give you the complete history leading up to now but only will say that this love for Kat has not diminished. It has continued to increase. Fast-forward to present-day…
A few weeks ago Jen and I had a chance to make a visit to California to see Kat and some friends. At dinner, Kat said to me, “I got you a present.” She handed me a piece of paper that just looked like a legal document. “What is it?” I asked. “Just read it,” she replied.
It was a legal document stating that Kat was having her last name changed to Moore. I had to leave the room because it is embarrassing to sob, not cry, sob in front of friends and family. And…I’m starting to cry again right now.
Let me be clear. Kat could have gone the rest of her life keeping Davidovich as her last name. My love for her would never diminish. And my love for her has not increased based upon the fact that I needed my daughter to have my last name. What was incredibly special was her act of love towards me. I suppose when I really think about it the three of us having the same last name is pretty cool. I’m honestly happy about that. But I am really happy about how much my daughter loves me and thought of this gift to give me. Yeah, love is a decision and it is revealed by our actions toward each other. This decision that Kat made was amazingly special.