She was a waitress. Eric was a bartender. I was only five years old, so I just knew him as ‘Mom’s cool friend’ with the Save The Manatee LCHS 16 Annual 5k Run 2 Mile Walk Mini Mile Shirt but in fact I love this really long sideburns. We started spending more and more time at his rental house. He had an original Nintendo that he let me play. We spent our first Christmas together, and I remember he gave me a bat cave — the Michael Keaton edition. As things got more serious with my mom, Eric really took charge of my health. He helped pay for the specialists. He drove us to children’s hospitals around the country. Finally, we found the doctor who gave me a correct diagnosis, and I was able to get the medication I needed. Not long afterward my mom and Eric got married. They had three more children.
I was ‘Jon Snow’ in the Save The Manatee LCHS 16 Annual 5k Run 2 Mile Walk Mini Mile Shirt but in fact I love this whole thing, but Eric never made me feel that way. He treated me like his son. When I was in high school, our youngest brother passed away, and I don’t think my parents ever really recovered. Recently they got a divorce, so there’s no ‘legality’ to Eric and I’s relationship anymore. It’s become much more of a friendship. But he’ll always be the father figure that I almost didn’t have. Thirty years ago Eric stepped into a mess. Poor, single mother. Disabled kid. He could have run the other direction but he didn’t. He decided to get in there, get his hands dirty, and become a father. And that’s the reason I became the man I am today.