‘He didn’t have to take on the father role. But he was certain from the start this is what he wanted.’

More Stories like:

“Halloween 2015 was the day I found out I was pregnant. I had been with a guy in an on-again off-again relationship for a little over a year. Just a few days prior, we had gotten back together after another split and that’s when I found out I was expecting. It was surreal. I took four pregnancy tests and had it confirmed at the health department around six weeks, but I still couldn’t believe it. I think I was in shock until I told my parents and that’s when I broke down. I didn’t want to disappoint them. I was 22 years old and less than two semesters away from finishing college, praying I could still graduate before I had the baby. We all cried and they told me they were still proud of me, and that everything would be okay.

Shelby Kendall

By December, it was time for me to get my first ultrasound and me and the father of my child had already split. I ended up going by myself because my family all lived 3.5 hours away. The first time I saw Wyatt on the ultrasound screen I bawled like a baby. That’s when it became real — there he was up on the screen.

Shelby Kendall

My last semester of college, I took 16 hours and did an internship. I would go to school from 8-12:30 and then straight to my internship from 1-10. I was exhausted and the further along I got the harder it became, but I was determined to pass all of my classes so I could graduate before my son made was born. His due date was the month after I was set to graduate.

Shelby Kendall

The rest of my pregnancy was the same as before with the father of my child. We were on-again off-again, and broke up at least every month. There were times we were great and I felt like it would work out and then there were other times I felt defeated and like things would never change. I was sleeping on an air mattress at a family’s house at six months along because I didn’t have a place of my own when we would split. Eventually, we got back together before my son was born. I moved back home with Wyatt (my son) after I left the hospital and the father stayed back. It was only supposed to be temporary though. He was going to work on getting us a place and I was going to get help from my family the first few weeks. That never happened — he ended up moving into my parent’s house with us for around six months. During that time, I thought we were doing amazing, better than ever. All the problems we had before with his drinking, cheating, dishonesty, not holding down a job, they had all disappeared. I thought ‘this is finally it. Everything is changing for the better, we are finally going to be a happy family.’

Shelby Kendall

In January I found out he was being dishonest again. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted us to work so badly for Wyatt, but it hurt even worse because I was thought we were the best we had ever been. I tried to let it go and make things go smoothly. A few weeks later we went to visit his family (they live where I lived when I was in college). He decided on that Sunday he wasn’t coming back home with us, so that was the end. I brought Wyatt up there to see him a couple of times in the next month. Things started going south for him there and I gave him an option to come back home with me and Wyatt, but he refused. He didn’t even tell Wyatt goodbye. The next thing I heard a few days later was someone else telling me he moved 14 hours away. I was done at that point. Any hope of us working out was completely gone. I was angry.

I was left in a small town living with my parents and had basically no savings. At the time I didn’t have a job because I was depending on him to support us while I stayed home with Wyatt. And although I had graduated, there was little opportunity for a job with my degree in a small town. I felt guilty for what I knew it would mean for Wyatt. I didn’t know what I would say to him one day or how I would relate since my parents are still together and I’m almost 25 years old. But I knew I had given my all, over and over and over, in hopes that things would work and Wyatt would have his biological parents together. It just wasn’t in the cards. I became extremely protective and attached to Wyatt after he left. For the next few months, I didn’t do anything without my son. We slept together, showered together, ran errands together. Wherever I was, Wyatt was with me. And I guess it’s because I didn’t want him to feel like I abandoned him too. I was perfectly content with being a single parent and was driven to find a career and start saving up to get our own place.

Shelby Kendall

When Wyatt was just around a year old, one of my best friends came into town. She wanted to go out to celebrate her asking us to be bridesmaids and I remember asking my mom what I should do? Up until this point I hadn’t left my son at all and I felt guilty as a mom going out with the girls. My mom wanted me to have some girl time since it had been so long and she convinced me to go. That night, I ended up being in the same group with Matt because we had mutual friends. He added me on Facebook and a few days later got my number. I remember when he texted me for the first time I was nervous because I hadn’t talked to anyone new in so long, and also because I didn’t know what he would think of me being a single mom. He never even second guessed me because of Wyatt. We started hanging out more and more and eventually he met my son. Before he met him, I told him to not be offended if Wyatt didn’t like him because Wyatt was extremely shy. Within 30 minutes of meeting him, Wyatt was climbing all over him, letting him pick him up, throwing the ball to him. They instantly hit it off.

Shelby Kendall

Pretty soon after that, we had a conversation about where this was going to go. He said he knew what this would mean for his relationship with Wyatt if we were to continue to get serious, and he said he was completely ready for it: ‘I wouldn’t date you if I wasn’t willing to eventually be the Dad figure to Wyatt.’ And now he is. He is the one Wyatt calls Dada. Matt was serious from the start and I completely trusted that he meant what he said. I have never had to question whether he would stick around for Wyatt. He has always included Wyatt in every plan and aspect of our lives. Within a month of meeting Wyatt, he traded in his Jeep for a four-door car that would fit a car seat. He would call me on from the toy aisle every other day to ask me what Wyatt would like. He drove 45 minutes one way almost every night to come spend a few hours with us. He even learned how to change diapers. Although he doesn’t have children of his own and has never been around kids much, he has stepped up in a million ways and truly loves Wyatt as his own.

Shelby Kendall

The only times I have ever seen Matt cry was at the thought of not being Wyatt’s ‘Dada.’ He has been more than we could have ever dreamed for, and because of him, I know Wyatt isn’t missing out on anything at all. Matt is my biggest helper and supporter and the best dad in the world for Wyatt. He goes to work for 10+ hours a day only to come home entertain Wyatt. He is the one who builds forts to play in and block towers to knock over. They play with action figures and have dance parties. He is the tickle monster and wrestling partner. He listens to Disney Radio in the car and has watched Moana so much he can quote it word for word. He gives Wyatt baths, tucks him in, and kisses him goodnight. He is the one to comfort Wyatt when he wakes up from a nightmare. He changed diapers and then taught Wyatt how to use a big boy’s potty. His fixes a million sippy cups and shares every meal. He knows I’m always running behind so he gets Wyatt up in the morning and gets him ready. He rides fair rides with Wyatt and plays at the park.

Shelby Kendall
Shelby Kendall
Shelby Kendall
Shelby Kendall
Shelby Kendall

He encourages me to have my time and volunteers to watch him when he knows I need a break. He insists on buying Wyatt’s new clothes and shoes when we go to the mall. He takes pride in taking care of us and works hard to provide us with everything we could want and need. He includes Wyatt in every single plan and trip. He does all the little things that people don’t think about until they are parents. He has provided constant stability and security, he is honest and hardworking, he is hilarious, soft hearted and caring. He has went above and beyond for us simply because he loves and cares for us. He didn’t have to choose to date a someone with a baby, he didn’t have to take on the father role. But he was certain from the start this is what he wanted, and we haven’t had to worry about anything since.

Hello World Photography by Kelsey Luckett
Hello World Photography by Kelsey Luckett

I never thought I would find someone to not just love me, but more importantly, love my son as much as he does and always put him first as a parent should do. I thought after my relationship with the biological father didn’t work out, that I had failed my son. I had no clue that the person, who I thought was too good to be true, would come into our lives and love us both unconditionally. And even now as I’m sitting here typing this, it’s almost midnight and he is up painting a toy box he built just like the one off Toy Story for Wyatt’s second birthday. I’m so thankful our paths crossed ways. Thank you ,Matt. We love you the most.”

Shelby Kendall
Shelby Kendall
Shelby Kendall

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shelby Kendall of Tennessee. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Help us show love for the fathers who have stepped up, and stepped in. SHARE this beautiful story on Facebook.

For our best love stories, subscribe to our free email newsletter: