In his day-to-day life, Tyrone Oliver investigates crimes, the worst things that people do to one another. But at the end of the day, he leaves that at the door when he walks into the home he shares with his wife and the five children they have between them.
Oliver is part of a growing trend, a blended family. But unlike the horror stories many hear of stepchildren fighting with one another, and screaming matches between stepparents and stepchildren, Oliver walks into a home blended, but filled to overflowing with happiness and respect.
His first child, Chelsea, 14, was born when Oliver was just 18; Christopher, 12, came shortly after. Oliver was in the Navy when his son was born and then worked at Ryan’s Steakhouse and Walmart, with a part-time job at a funeral home in Conyers, just to make ends meet. He was so busy working that while he was there for the births, he missed a lot of the little stuff; the doctor’s visits and the pregnancy, the events and the functions of his children as they were younger.
"As you get older you realize the responsibilities of actually being a parent – a father, especially to a daughter," he said. "Financially it was tough, it’s tough sometimes now, but there’s more stability."
Oliver started with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office in 1999. He was a single father, his daughter Chelsea living with him, seeing Christopher every other weekend. He met his wife, Aimee, at work at the end of 2007 and they started dating roughly a year later. Both were divorced with two children, Aimee also had a son and a daughter, Marsaan, 5, and Amaiah, 4.
"We both took everything slow, especially with the kids," he said. "You don’t want to expose your kids to a person and it not end up working out. We were slow to have the kids meet each other as well, but once we did it went great. Marsaan and Amaiah took to me fairly quickly and Chelsea and Christopher love Aimee. We all got along great."
When Aimee became pregnant, the couple sat down with Chelsea and told her first.
"Chelsea was a little reserved at first, especially when it got closer to the birth because she realized she wasn’t going to be Daddy’s little girl any longer."
The couple’s daughter Tyra was born in 2010 and the couple married in September of that year. Chelsea stood by her stepmother’s side as a bridesmaid and Christopher by his father as a groomsman. Marsaan and Amaiah were the ring bearer and flower girl in the celebration.
According to the most recent U.S. Census, one out of three Americans are a stepparent and 50 percent of U.S. families are remarried. About 65 percent of remarriages involve children from a prior marriage.
While it is sometimes rough being in a house full of girls, Oliver wouldn’t have it any other way. He said that sometimes the girls will all go out together or that he, Marsaan and Christopher will have a boy’s day out and leave the girls home alone.
Often he is called in to work with the criminal investigation division and has to nix plans with his family because of it. The fact that Aimee works at the Newton County Detention Center helps her understand how the job works and, although it can get frustrating, Oliver said that she stands by him.
"It’s hard to spread out being an investigator and a father and a husband," he said. "I’m very fortunate to have a loving and understanding wife, but it still gets hard. But when I am at home and when I have time I spend that with them. What time I have I make sure is quality time with my family."
When he speaks about the kids, he doesn’t say he has three kids and two stepchildren, he says he has five loving children.
"That’s the type of bond and relationship we have together," he said. "My kids are all excellent. I think the key is that we communicate with them. I know that it’s adult business, but anytime you have children involved you have to make sure they are OK with things as well. It’s their life too. You don’t want them to be miserable on account of your happiness. You want everyone to be happy as a whole and all our kids see is the love of two parents."
The time with his family is something that Oliver cherishes, especially since he’s all too aware of how quickly it can be snatched away.
"You value the time you have with your family a lot more than most people because in my line of work I see just how precious life is and how it could be taken in just the blink of an eye. When you come home you just want to embrace that love and that family because in the end, when you leave, that’s all you’ll have left to show of you in this world is your kids. And at the end of the day that’s all you have, is family."