Love & Family

‘He’s not my dad, he’s my lover’

She's 21, he is 53.

Jessie found love with someone unexpected… 

Jessie McNamara, 21, tell the story in her own words.

I’d love to take your dad out to dinner some time,’ a woman smiled, winking at the handsome man next to me. What she didn’t realise was that she was actually propositioning my husband, Pete!

Having fallen in love with a man 31 years my senior, I’m used to the confusion. When I first met Pete, I was 16 and romance was the last thing on my mind. At 48, he was two years older than my dad! An alternative education tutor, he’d kindly taken in one of his students who was having a tough time – my boyfriend, Patrick.

After school, I’d hang out at their place. Full of facts, Pete loved to talk about history. And he was passionate about the importance
of education. ‘You’re a smart girl, Jessie. You could do anything you wanted,’ he’d say. Patrick and I broke up a few weeks later and he soon moved out. Having a tough time at home myself, I took his room at Pete’s house. By now, I’d quit school, but with Pete’s encouragement I enrolled in an employment skills course. Getting my life on track, I felt proud. I realised I’d also started to feel differently about Pete…

When he smiled, his sky- blue eyes lit up. And he was just so kind! He’s old enough to be your dad, I told myself, but we got on so well it didn’t seem to matter. I’d been living with Pete for two months when I leaned in for a hug. Surprise registered on his face as
I then led him to the bedroom, where we spent the night together.

Waking the next morning, our age gap didn’t even enter my mind. I found Pete really attractive and now I knew he liked me, too! As time passed, our relationship blossomed. Still, we didn’t tell everyone about it straight away. But Dad often came round to have dinner with us and watch movies. Quickly, he noticed how close Pete and I had become. ‘He’s a good man,’ Dad shared. Although I didn’t feel like I needed anyone’s approval, it felt great to have his support.

Pete and I had been together for seven months when he handed me a Baby Einstein DVD with a knowing grin. He must want to listen to classical music! I figured. But when I missed my next period, Pete’s gift made perfect sense. As he played with his three-year-old granddaughter, he looked up as I walked over.

‘You better get used to that, because you’re going to have another one!’ I exclaimed, showing him the pregnancy test. ‘I already knew!’ Pete smiled, pulling me in for an embrace. Somehow, he’d sensed the change in me. ‘You’re going to be an amazing mum,’ he added.

A dad to three grown-up kids and a grandfather of one, Pete was overjoyed to add to his brood. With our bub growing in my belly, our bond was unbreakable. Arriving on Christmas Eve, our girl, Isobelle, was the best present ever.

Pete and me with Izzy.

Bathing her for the first time, I was petrified. ‘Can you do it?’ I asked Pete, worried that I’d make a mistake. Instead of taking over, my man empowered me.‘You’re doing a great job,’ he said, by my side every step of the way.

Taking Izzy out, strangers gushed over our girl. ‘Are you out with Grandad today?’ they’d coo when she was in Pete’s arms. Giving each other a smile, we’d say nothing. As long as we knew that we were a family, that was all that mattered.

On Izzy’s first birthday, Pete handed me a pretty box filled with special mementos. Picking up a battery, I looked at him quizzically.

‘It represents the energy we have together,’ he explained. Inside, there was also a note. Go to the shed and look in the safe, it read, cryptically. It was Christmas the next day…

Still, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the letter Pete had left in the safe. Will you marry me? he’d written. Open drawer one if the answer’s yes, drawer two, if it’s no, he’d added. Taking the first option, I found a sparkling engagement ring. Walking in with our daughter on his hip, my fiancé and I hugged. Peeking in the second box, I saw Pete had bought a necklace for Izzy. We were so lucky to have him!

Marrying a year later, I was five months along with our second bub. In front of all our friends and family, we made our vows. ‘I promise never to obey you!’ I said, cheekily. With Pete’s Irish heritage, he said some of his in Gaelic. But his pledge to be a good husband and father, I understood perfectly.

Our wedding day.

After the ceremony, we ducked off to McDonald’s for our first cheeseburger as husband and wife!

Four months later, our beloved son, Ciaran, joined our family. Now, he is two and Izzy is nearly four!

izzy and ciaran
Izzy and Ciaran.

Studying early childhood, I’m a far cry from the rebellious teen I used to be. With my incredible husband’s support, I’m proud of the woman I’ve become.We may be from different generations, but I’m so happy we found each other. Age is no object when you find your soulmate!

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