The man in this picture is Mike. He's my husband. He only has one biological child - a daughter - but has become a father-figure to the seven teenage boys who practically live at our house.
He gained the first son when he married me and became step-dad to my then five-year-old, Carter. The rest of them came along as Carter went to school and played sports.
For the past few years, the same seven boys have taken up primary residence in our front living room. Only two of them have a dad they live with, three have lost their dads (some literally, some figuratively) to addiction, and the other two see their dads but it's complicated.
As Mike learned of each kid's situation, he began to fill in the gaps. Some learned how to work with tools and fix things while others got pointers on how to improve their fastball or jump shot. They all received lessons on working hard, saving money, and the importance of healthy romantic relationships. But most importantly, they found a kind and compassionate man willing to listen to anything they wanted to say, then diffuse a serious conversation with toilet humor.
I could not be more proud of Mike and the impact he has on the lives of these young men. They're pretty thankful as well. Need proof? They turned their handprints into fish and made a giant Father's Day card for Mike! How sweet is that?!