Sewickley dad takes family changes in stride
As Ed Abbott reflected on his life with six children just before Father's Day, he said although he didn't expect the abrupt turns in the road, he is happy about where his path has led him.
Abbott, 47, is the father of four teen-age boys from his first marriage. He also has two girls from his second marriage. At one time, he was a pitcher for his sons' baseball team, but today he often portrays a prince and “marries” and dances with his 3-year-old daughter, who likes to dress in frilly outfits.
Abbott moved to Sewickley from Minnesota in 1999 with his first wife and four boys — Drew, now 19; Taylor, 18; Noah, 17: and Evan, 15. When he and his wife divorced and began sharing custody, the boys continued in Quaker Valley School District.
Abbott met his second wife, Buffy, administrative assistant to the pastor at St. Stephen's Church in Sewickley, after he worked with her to try to set up a single dad's club at the church.
“He was fun to watch as a dad. He is phenomenal. That's what attracted me to him. He's a great example to them. He's open and likes to be with them and have fun with them,” said Buffy, 36.
The couple began dating in 2004 and married two years later.
They now have two daughters, Rachel, 3, and Julianna, 1.
“He was so rough and tumble with the boys, but he seems to have shifted effortlessly for the girls,” she said.
“We used to say it looked like he lived in a frat house. It was very masculine. Now after a few years into our marriage, we're bringing in the pink,” she said with a laugh.
Abbott said he doesn't know what he would have done if it wasn't for Buffy and the supportive families he met in Sewickley through activities with his boys.
“I'm so glad I moved to Sewickley. If there is a place for single dads, this is it. I like Sewickley. It's small, and everybody knows what everybody else's kids are doing and helps out each other,” he said.
Years ago, Abbott said he used to take his boys to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the Carnegie Science Center and on a pontoon boat at Moraine State Park.
“Now I get to go through it all again with the girls,” he said. “I love it.”
And, he said, the boys all love the girls and each have their own special relationship with them, whether it's wrestling with them or reading to them. His son, Drew, said it's fun to have sisters.
“How can you be upset about something when there are these ridiculously cute little kids around?” he said.
“The thing about having half brothers or sisters is, there is a fear that you'll be left out or forgotten or lost, but it's the exact opposite of that. We're still just one big family unit. It's funny to hear people never address us individually. It's always, ‘What are the Abbotts up to?'”
Abbott said his parents' attitude about family togetherness and their love and respect for one another have been a big influence on him.
Drew, who said the boys usually cook brunch after church and play board games and have a family outing with their dad on Father's Day, said Abbott also has taught him a lot about the importance of family life. He wants to carry that attitude into his own marriage and family.
“In the best of times and the worst of times, he always says ‘we will deal with this together as a family,'” he said.
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.