That a twenty three year old man would meet and fall in love with a twenty eight year old married woman with three children and still be around thirty five years later. But it happened. The woman wasn't looking to meet someone even though her marriage wasn't satisfying. Her husband was an alcoholic and a cheater who occasionally instigated physical fights with his wife. So after many years of driving around town with the kids asleep in the car looking to catch her husband in the arms of another woman, she'd finally had enough. She wasn't going to sit around with doom and gloom anymore. She was attractive and she was worthy of having some fun herself. It wasn't long before she had a regular babysitter that the kids adored and so the woman and her best friend started going out at night.
One night the woman met a handsome stranger. He was extremely forward, something the woman was not accustomed to, but she enjoyed the attention. This man made her feel sexy and beautiful and wanted. The man was very popular with the ladies and so the woman was leary of his attention. Night after night the woman would go out and the man would be there. As soon as he'd see her he would lavish all his attention on her. He fell in love at first sight and the woman started having feelings for him as well.
As soon as the woman realized that she loved this other man, she filed for divorce. The kids were angry. They didn't like seeing their mother with another man. They hated him for tearing apart their family. They blamed him and their mother for hurting their dad and leaving him alone. The woman's parents and her in-laws made death threats against the new man in her life. They followed the man and woman everywhere and made prank phone calls threatening to kidnap the children and to kill the man. It was a very scary time. The woman and her kids went into hiding and the kids missed their grandparents. They didn't understand why they couldn't see them but they knew that the grandparents were behaving extremely erratic. Eventually, the threats stopped and the woman and her parents reconciled.
Even after all the craziness, all the threats, all the hiding, all the hatred from the kids, all the obstacles, the man loved the woman enough to stick around and to prove his love by supporting the woman and protecting her and loving her children. He won over the children and he raised them as if they were his own.
The man is the best step dad in the world. He is my mentor, a man I admire because of his strength, his character, his integrity and his love for my mother. He is Joe W. Whittington and I love him very much. He is the epitome of a real man. He is good, kind, generous and loving. I am so blessed that he didn't give up on my mom all those years ago when there were so many obstacles to overcome. True love prevailed and I am happy to report that my parents are still very much in love today. It's nice to see.